Whether a person who performed military service duties under the Shah would have been recalled for active service during the Iran-Iraq War: and penalties for failing to serve during that war [IRN32374.E]

According to the Iran Desk officer at Lawyers Committee For Human Rights in New York, people who failed the reservist calls, including those who had performed their military service under the Shah, during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) would not be at risk today in Iran (30 July 1999).

A contributor to the Jane's Intelligence Review and a specialist on Iran's military, stated that under the Shah educated people were assigned to alternative military service, such as medical students performing military training in military hospitals (27 July 1999). Military service under the Shah was compulsory and lasted 18 months. Military personnel who were recalled during the Iran-Iraq War were mainly air force pilots and members of the navy, areas still unfamiliar to the Pasdaran at the time. Those officers were required to sign a declaration where they pledged to remain quiet. People who would have failed to report to the call for reservists during the Iran-Iraq War would have a file on them. The only penalty upon their return to Iran today would be a fine.

The Director of the Foundation for Iranian Studies in Bethesda added that person who have been residing abroad and who failed to report to the call for reservists during the Iran-Iraq War have been able to normalize their situation with the authorities and return to Iran safely (30 July 1999).

It might be of interest to note that in 1988, acting as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani stated that "soldiers who have completed their two-year military service will no longer have to stay on another four months as reservists" (IRNA 29 Dec. 1988). The Associated Press (AP) indicated that "Iran will abolish reserve military service by the end of the Persian year in March and will cut the draft from 28 months to 24 starting next month" (29 Dec. 1988).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


The Associated Press (AP). 29 December 1988. "Iran Abolishes Reserve Military Service." (NEXIS)

Director, Foundation for Iranian Studies, Bethesda, Maryland. 30 July 1999. Telephone interview.

Iran Desk officer, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, New York. 30 July 1999. Telephone interview.

IRNA [Tehran, in English]. 29 December 1988. "Iran Decision to Abolish Reserve Military Service Announced" (BBC Summary 31 Dec. 1988/NEXIS).

Specialist on Iranian military affairs and contributor to the Jane's Intelligence Review, London, UK. 27 July 1999. Telephone interview.

Additional Sources Consulted

Country File: Iran.

Iran: A Country Study. 1990. Edited by Helen Metz. Washington, DC: Secretary of the Army.

Jane's Defence Review. 1990-1999.

Jane's Intelligence Review. 1997-1999

United Nations, Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights. 16 January 1997. E/CN.4/1997/99. The Question of Conscientious Objectors to Military Service.