Iranian Scientific and Technical Achievements in 2011

 Iran Review: September 2011 (Chief Editor-Firouzeh Mirrazavi)

Under the section for “Iranuians’ Achievements” there is an article entitled “Iranians & Sci-Tech Achievements“.


UNESCO to Award 4 Iranian Scientists

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will award four Iranian scientists for outstanding contribution.

The four Iranian scientists have earned their prestigious own spot on the list of Islamic World’s top scholars, which is now being recognized by UNESCO as well, ISNA reported.

The Islamic World Scientists’ Network in conjunction with Iran’s national Biophysics and Biochemistry Association will be offering the prizes to the four senior Iranian experimental science researchers.

The awardees include Dr. Abbas Shafiee, Tehran University Pharmacology and Medical Sciences Professor, Dr. Mojtaba Shamsipour Professor of Chemistry in Razi University, Dr. Mohsen Nemat Gorgani, Tehran University Professor of Biochemistry, and Dr. Ali Akbar Sabouri Professor in Biophysics for Tehran University.

The award ceremony is slated for Saturday (August 27th) and will be held in the presence of the UNESCO National Commission Director General.

Iran’s scientific output rose 18-fold between 1996 and 2008, from 736 published papers to 13,238, making it, as argued by the “New Scientist” journal, as exhibiting the fastest rate of scientific publication increase in the world.

Iranian Researcher: Micro Oxygen Generators Fight Cancer Faster

A tiny oxygen generating device could help kill cancer tissues faster by increasing the influence of radiation and chemotherapy, says a new research.

The device, if implanted in tumours, could shrink them much faster, Purdue University researchers say.

Solid tumours are hypoxic at the core, meaning that they have low oxygen levels, which renders the fight against cancer even more difficult.

“Radiation therapy needs oxygen to be effective,” said Babak Ziaie, professor of electrical, computer and biomedical engineering, the journal Transactions on Biomedical Engineering reports.

“So the hypoxic areas are hard to kill. Pancreatic and cervical cancers are notoriously hypoxic. If you generate oxygen, you can increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy and also chemotherapy,” said Ziaie, who led the study.

The new “implantable micro oxygen generator” receives ultrasound signals… to generate a small voltage to separate oxygen and hydrogen from water, according to a University statement.

“We are putting these devices inside tumours and then exposing the tumours to ultrasound,” Ziaie said.

The ultrasound energy powers the device.

Researchers have tested the device in pancreatic tumours by implanting it in mice. The device generated oxygen and shrank tumours faster. They are slightly less than one cm long. They were created at the Birck Nanotechnology Center at the University’s Discovery Park.

Iranian Elite Ranks Top in the World Optometry Exam

Iranian optometrist Mehran Zarei Ghanavati was celebrated the best eye specialist in the world exam of the International Council for Optometry.

He has passed successfully the exam special for optometrist and received the “Dr. Piter Vatson” reward — six thousand dollars.

The council also awarded him special scholarship to go ahead with his studies.

The first such exam started in 1995 and all eye specialists of the world simultaneously and equally partake the exam every year.

The International Council of Optometry (ICO) is an international optometric organization representing 250,000 optometrists from 96 member organizations in 65 countries.

This year over two thousand of optometrists from 111 eye clinics of the world participated the exam which was held in 65 countries of the world.

The Iranian elite previously ranked top in the Iranian Matrix, exams for the Universities of medical sciences and the pre-internships exam.

He also ranked second in optometrists board exams and first in fellowship cornea exam.

Iran Ranks First in Scientific Growth

Iran’s Deputy Minister of Science, Research and Technology Mohammad Mehdinejad Nouri says the country has the fastest scientific growth in the world.

“Over the past 30 years, Iran has ranked first in the world, with the eleven-fold increase in science growth,” said Mehdinejad Nouri.

He referred to statistics provided by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and pointed out that Iran has produced 12,000 articles in science and research during the first half of 2011, which has gained the country the 21st place in the world in terms of research articles contribution.

The senior official at the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology further pointed out that the number of university students in Iran has almost doubled over the past years.

Mehdinejad Nouri noted that Iran has localized 80 percent of communications and information technologies and also doubled its progress in areas of aerospace, stem cell researches, nuclear, aircraft designs, oil and gas, and biological and chemical engineering.

In March, a report released by UK’s Royal Society said Iran is the fastest growing country in terms of numbers of scientific publications in the world.

The report stated that Iran has had the fastest rate of increase in scientific publication in the world and its scientific output rose 18-fold between 1996 and 2008, from 736 published papers to 13,238.

The United States is still the world’s scientific leader in authorship of scientific research papers, but its share of global authorship has fallen to 21 percent from 26 percent, the report added.

China followed with a share of authorship rising to 10.2 percent from 4.4 percent, with Britain ranking third with a slight decrease in its share from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent.

Turkey dramatically improved its scientific performance, at a close rate to China, with R&D spending increasing nearly six-fold between 1995 and 2007.

The report also indicated that China is overtaking ‘scientific superpowers,’ in the conduct and impact of science, and its ability to tackle global problems.

According to the report, despite the strained political relations between Iran and the US, the number of collaborative papers between scientists of the two countries rose almost fivefold from 388 to 1831 over the same period.

The report said emerging nations such as Brazil and India are rising above scientific leaders like the United States, Europe and Japan, while Iran, Tunisia and Turkey have entered the league of rapidly emerging scientific nations.

Iranians Win 6 Math Olympiad Medals

Iranian high school students were ranked 10th in the 52nd International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, during July 16-24.

Mohsen Jamali, the head of Young Scholars Club (YSC), said the Iranian students won two gold and four silver medals in the competition, ISNA reported.

Mojtaba Shokrian from Isfahan and Mina Dalir-Rouy from Tehran bagged gold medals and Mohammad Pedramfar from Rasht, Erfan Tavakkoli from Amol, Sahand Seif-Nashri and Alireza Fallah from Tehran bagged silver medals.

The competition opened with the participation of more than 560 contestants from 101 countries. The Iranian team had won 4 silver and 2 bronze medals in the previous round of the competition.

“The IMO is the largest and oldest Olympiad for sciences and we will have the honor of receiving around 600 incredibly talented young mathematicians from across the globe,” said Netherlands’ Education, Culture and Science Minister Marja van Bijsterveld before the competition.

The IMO is the top international competition held for high school students. The first IMO was hosted in 1959 by Romania.

With about half of the world’s countries and regions participating in recent years, it has become not only a mathematical competition for young people on the highest level, but also a great moment for international communication.

Iran Ranks 13 in Computer Olympiad

Iran’s national computer team has achieved the 13th place in the world computer Olympiad, which was held in Pattaya, Thailand.

Members of the Iranian national computer team have managed to win three silver and one bronze medals in the 23rd International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) this year, where 82 countries participated, Fars News Agency reported .

Seyyed Mehran Kholdi, Kasra Edalatnejad Khameneh, and Sajjad Jalali took silver medals and Mohammad-Reza Kasnavi won the bronze medal of the international competition which started on July 22 and ended on July 29.

The Olympiad is led by the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST).

Iran’s Deputy Minister of Science, Research and Technology Mohammad Mehdinejad Nouri announced the country has the fastest scientific growth in the world.

He referred to statistics provided by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and pointed out that Iran has produced 12,000 articles in science and research during the first half of 2011, which has won the country the 21st place in the world in terms of research article contribution.

Iran Ranks 4th in Int’l Chemistry Olympiad

The Islamic Republic of Iran National Chemistry Olympiad Team, attending the 43rd Global Chemistry Olympiad in Turkey, gained two gold, a silver, and a bronze medal, ranking 4th across the globe.

According to Mehr news agency 273 students from 76 countries took part in the Global chemistry Olympiad in Turkey.

In regard to points gained throughout the Global Chemistry Olympiad, China and South Korea jointly hold the first spot, with Russia and the US respectively holding the 2nd and 3rd spots. Meanwhile, Iran in the company of Czech Republic, France, and India, jointly hold the 4th spot.

The 43rd International Chemistry Olympiad was held in Ankara, Turkey, as of July 9-18.

Iranians Bag 9 Olympiad Medals

Iran won five medals at the 42nd International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) and four medals at the 22nd International Biology Olympiad.

Mohsen Jamali, the head of Young Scholars Club (YSC), said Iran’s team at the 42nd International Physics Olympiad (IPhO) in Bangkok, Thailand, comprised Mehrdad Khani Shirkouhi from Karaj, Pouria Qajari, Masoud Mohammadi and Nima Mousavi from Tehran, and Alireza Kamalipour from Shiraz, ISNA reported.

Iran’s team won five silver medals to rank 10th among 85 countries.

Some 480 students attended the competition, which was held during July 10-18.

Students from Taiwan and China ranked first and second, respectively.

The organization of the 42nd IPhO in 2011 was previously entrusted to Belgium.

However, in 2010, Belgium’s organizers formally informed the IPhO Secretariat their decision to withdraw from organizing the Olympiad due to a substantial shortfall in funding.

After active efforts of the IPhO Secretariat, Thailand agreed to organize the event.


Iran won two silver and two bronze medals at the 22nd International Biology Olympiad held at Taipei, Taiwan, from July 7-17.

Mohsen Jamali said Iran’s team comprised Mahsima Shabani, Mehrdad Goshayeshi, Ali Vafaei and Ahmad Vafaeian, adding that Iran’s team will return home on July 20.

The Olympiad is the biggest international competition of secondary school students held for promoting different branches of studies by connecting young people from all over the world, giving them the opportunity to exchange experiences, forge new friendships and collaborations in the scientific community and ensure a bright future for the development of physics.

Iran Beats US In RoboCup Contest

Iran beats Japan and US in the international RoboCup competition held in Istanbul, Turkey.

In the first soccer match of Iran, MRL team from Qazvin Open University beat Japanese Hibikino Musashai in middle-sized robots 7-0, ISNA reported.

This is while in the small-sized robots’ soccer match, the Iranian team headed for the second round when it beat US Georgia Tech team 3-0.

The achievement is more valuable in view of the fact that some parts of these robots are among the items sanctioned by the US.

Some 40 teams are representing Iran in 14 leagues of this competition.

The small-sized robot, or F180, focuses on the problem of intelligent multi-agent cooperation and control in a highly dynamic environment with a hybrid centralized/distributed system.

A small-sized robot soccer game takes place between two teams of five robots each. Each robot must conform to the dimensions specified in the F180 rules: The robot must fit within an 180 mm diameter circle and must be no higher than 15cm. The robots play soccer with an orange golf ball on a green carpeted field that is 6.05 meters long and 4.05 meters wide.

More than 200 teams from 57 countries are participating in the competition that is held in three steps in different leagues, including RoboCup Soccer, RoboCup Rescue, RoboCup Junior and RoboCup@home.

Iranian Researchers Produce Nanovaccine for Leishmaniasis

Researchers at Tabriz University of Medical Science have produced Nanovaccine for Leishmaniasis.

Dr. Mohammad Ali Danesh, who led the research, said leishmaniasis is a protozoan disease, affecting 12 million people in different regions of the world with a wide spectrum of diseases, ISNA reported.

“Although several chemotherapeutic agents have been used for treating the disease, long-term therapy, limited efficacy and the development of drug-resistant parasites remain the major limitations,” he said.

To develop a new nanovaccine for leishmaniasis, recombinant Leishmania superoxide dismutase (SODB1) was loaded onto chitosan nanoparticles by the ionotropic gelation method.

He further said size and loading efficiency of the nanoparticles were evaluated and optimized, and an immunization study was undertaken on BALB/c mice.

“The mice received phosphate buffer saline (PBS), superoxide dismutase B1 (SODB1) in PBS and nanoparticles via subcutaneous injection,” he said.

“Soluble Leishmania Antigens (SLA) and complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) were also injected subcutaneously three times every three weeks (some groups received only a single dose),” he said, adding that three weeks after the last injection, blood samples were collected and assessed with ELISA to detect IgG2a and IgG1.

He explained that immunological analysis showed that in single and triple doses of SODB1 nanoparticles, IgG2a and IgG2a/IgG1 were significantly higher than the other groups (P<0.05).

Danesh also said the results revealed that formulations of SODB1 in biodegradable and stable chitosan nanoparticles can increase the immunogenicity toward cell-mediated immunity (TH1 cells producing IgG2a in mice) that is effective in leishmania eradication and could be presented as a single dose nanovaccine for leishmaniasis.

Detecting Metastatic Cancer Cells

Research by engineers and cancer biologists at Virginia Tech indicates that using specific silicon microdevices might provide a new way to screen breast cancer cells’ ability to metastasize.

The Virginia Tech researchers are: Masoud Agah, director of Virginia Tech’s Microelectromechanical Systems Laboratory (MEMS) in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Jeannine Strobl, a research professor in the same department; Mehdi Nikkhah of mechanical engineering and Raffaella DeVita of engineering science and mechanics and the director of the Soft Biological Systems Laboratory.

Nikkhah was Virginia Tech’s outstanding doctoral student in the College of Engineering for 2009, reported.

Their work appeared in two journal articles they authored in the 2010 issues of Biomaterials, titled “Actions of the anti-cancer drug suberoylanilide hydroaxamic acid (SAHA) on human breast cancer cytoarchitecture in silicon microstructures,” and “The cytoskeletal organization of breast carcinoma and fibroblast cells inside three dimensional isotropic microstructures.”

Cell cytoskeleton refers to the cell’s shape and its mechanical properties, Agah explained. “Any change in the cytoskeletal structure can affect the interaction of cells with their surrounding microenvironments. Biological events in normal cells such as embryonic development, tissue growth and repair and immune responses, as well as cancer cell motility and invasiveness are dependent upon cytoskeletal reorganization,” the electrical engineer added.

Understanding how the cell interacts with the contents of its surrounding environment inside the human body, including the introduction of a drug, is a fundamental biological question. The answers have implications in cancer diagnosis and therapy, as well as tissue engineering, Agah said.

In previous experimentation by others in the field, researchers have exposed cells to mechanical, chemical and three-dimensional topographical stimuli. They recorded the cells’ various responses in terms of migration, growth and the ability to adhere. Also, in the past, researchers have created substrates of precise micro- and nano-topographical and chemical patterns to mimic in vivo microenvironments for biological and medical applications.

What distinguishes the work of Agah, a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award recipient, and his colleagues, is they developed a specific three-dimensional silicon microstructure for their work. Due to its curved isotropic surfaces, they were able to characterize and compare the growth and adhesion behavior of normal fibroblast and metastatic human breast cancer cells, they reported in Biomaterials.

“In invasive breast carcinoma, tumor cells will fill a milk duct, and the basement membrane,” they wrote. This action allows the carcinoma cells and the fibroblast cells of the breast tissue to be in close proximity, constituting “a critical pathobiological transition that leads to the progression of the disease,” Strobl said.

Using their uniquely designed three-dimensional silicon microstructure, they were able to incorporate three key cellular components found in any breast tumor microenvironment. Additionally, they were able to determine the detailed interaction of the cells within this environment, including the normal breast cells, the metastatic breast cancer cells, and the fibroblast cells.

Their understanding of the behavior of the cells within the microstructures is what leads them to believe their research could “provide important diagnostic and prognostic markers unique to the tumor, which could ultimately be used to develop new tools for the detection and treatment of cancer”.

Following their initial findings, Strobl, Nikkhah and Agah identified a unique application of the experimental anti-cancer drug SAHA in their studies with the silicon microstructure. SAHA, also known as Vorinostat, is the first drug of its type to receive Food and Drug Administration approval for clinical use in cancer treatment.

Unlike many of the conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy agents that target DNA to kill cancer cells, SAHA’s unique properties include its ability to inhibit a family of enzymes referred to medically as “histone deacetylases”. These enzymes are known to “increase levels of acetylation of many proteins, including beta-actin, alpha-, and beta-tubulin, and additional actin binding proteins comprising the cytoskeleton.

“The role of drugs such as SAHA in the control of cancer cell metastasis is only beginning to be understood,” explained Strobl,. “However, our work shows that SAHA elicits a very characteristic cytoskeletal alteration specifically in metastatic breast cells that provides a handle for predicting which breast cells in a cell mixture might have the ability to metastasize.”

Cell motility is “one hallmark of metastatic cancer cells involving the coordinated actions of actin and other cytoskeleton proteins”, Agah explained.

When metastatic disease develops, it is usually fatal.

They found SAHA caused cancer cells to stretch and attach to the microstructures through actin-rich cell extensions. By contrast, control cells conformed to the microstructures.

This result allowed them to “conclude that isotropically etched silicon microstructures comprise microenvironments that discriminate metastatic mammary cancer cells in which cytoskeletal elements reorganized in response to the anti-cancer agent SAHA”.

The Virginia Tech work in this area “is the first to address the use of microdevices to study this emerging class of anti-cancer agents”, Agah said.

Iran-Born Researcher Develops a Warning System For Bridge Dangers

While newer ‘smart’ bridges have embedded wired networks of sensors to monitor their structural integrity, the high cost of installing such systems on existing bridges is simply unaffordable for strained city, state and federal budgets.

According to a 2009 estimate by the US Society of Civil Engineers, more than one in four US bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, Gizmag said.

Now University of Maryland electrical engineering researcher, Iran-born Mehdi Kalantari, has developed a tiny wireless sensor that monitors and transmits minute-by-minute data on a bridge’s structural integrity that he estimates is one-hundredth the cost of a wired network approach.

The wireless sensors, which Kalantari is marketing under the name SenSpot, measure all the variables reflecting the structural integrity of bridges that conventional wired systems do, such as strain, vibration, tilt, acceleration, deformation and cracking.

The sensors themselves are less than five millimeters thick and are comprised of four thin, flexible layers. The first senses and measures structural parameters; the second stores energy; the third transmits data to central computer for analysis; and the outer layer harvests energy from ambient light and radio waves.

While serious problems would quickly trigger an alarm, more subtle early-stage problems may take up to a few days until the system is confident enough to report a structural integrity issue.

Kalantari says the sensors are rugged and, because they are self-adhesive, require no potentially damaging drilling into the bridge structure. “They should last at least a decade with practically no maintenance required. As they harvest energy from ambient light and radio waves, they don’t require any wires, batteries or dedicated external power source,” he said.

With each unit costing about US$20, the total cost for an average-sized highway bridge needing about 500 sensors would be about $10,000.

“If this kind of technology had been available in Minnesota four years ago, there’s a good chance the fatal bridge collapse could have been avoided,” Kalantari says, referring to the August 1, 2007 bridge collapse along Minneapolis I-35W that killed 13 and injured 145. “This new approach makes preventive maintenance affordable–even at a time when budgets are tight. Officials will be able to catch problems early and will have weeks or month to fix a problem.”

In conjunction with the Maryland Department of Transportation, Kalantari has been testing the sensors by measuring the structural parameters of highway bridges in a real setting for almost a year. He says this has allowed him to optimize the device’s performance and energy consumption with the updated model smaller and 10 times more energy efficient than its predecessor. The field testing has also allowed him to track the bridges’ response to changes in weather conditions and traffic.

To commercialize his technology, Kalantari founded Resensys LLC through the University of Maryland’s Technology Advancement Program incubator. He expects to scale up production of the sensors in September this year.

Dr. Kalantari received his BSc and MSc degrees in electrical engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, in 1996 and 1998, respectively. After gaining several years of industry experience in control and communication systems during 1996-2000, he started his PhD studies in electrical and computer engineering at UMD in 2000.After receiving his PhD in 2005, he has worked there as an assistant research scientist.

Dr. Kalantari received Dean’s Honor Award of the Sharif University of Technology in 1996, Business Plan Competition Award of UMD in 2004 and the Award for Entrepreneurship of UMD in 2006.

Treating Refractory Diseases With Stem Cells

Iranian researchers at Tehran Medical University used embryonic stem cells to treat refractory diseases.

Ramin Heshmat, the deputy head of the university’s Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Center, said the scientists used embryonic stem cells to treat diabetes, MS, liver disease and dystrophy, IRNA reported.

“In this process, researchers inject these human cells into patients,” he said. “This is a much more controlled process and you basically are sure of getting the same quality of cell every time you do the implant.”

Heshmat pointed out that currently a patient would have to wait for a cadaver organ to become available and even then there is a high risk of the cells from that organ being infected or contaminated.

“If we use embryonic stem cells instead, we can also make unlimited numbers of these cells and have an unlimited source that we can stockpile and have available whenever a patient needs it,” he said.

Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst, an early-stage embryo. Human embryos reach the blastocyst stage 4–5 days post fertilization, at which time they consist of 50–150 cells.

Tajikestan President urges Parents to Select names from Shahname

Rustam slays the dragon. The tales of Rustam (the “Hercules of Persia”) are narrated in the Shahname epic written in the post-Islamic era after the fall of the Sassanian Empire. Known as the “Illiad of Persia”, the Shahname has preserved much of Iran’s ancient pre-Islamic heritage.  

The following report was given by Richard Orange in the London-based Telegraph on June 3, 2011:

Tajik President warns parents of dangers of ‘scary names’

Below is a Persian translation by the website of excerpts of the Telegraph report:

رئيس جمهور تاجيكستان از مردم كشورش خواست تا نام هاي كودكان نورسيده شان را از شاهنامه فردوسي برگزينند و از انتخاب نام هاي عربي، تركي و نامهايي كه پسوند و پيشوند “گرگ” دارند بپرهيزند تا ازين طريق به فرهنگ نياكان پارسي خود اداي احترام كنند. رئيس جمهور تاجيكستان نام فرزندان خودش را از شاهنامه برگزيده است و نام پسر او “رستم” نام دارد. اين در حالي است كه 21 ژوئيه قانوني به پيشنهاد رئيس جمهور تاجيكستان در مجلس تاجيكستان به تصويب رسيد كه نام گذاري عربي و غير پارسي را در اين كشور ممنوع مي كند.

For more information on this in Persian see the following report:

تاجیکستان،نامگذاری کودکان،امام علی رحمان،شاهنامه

Tajikestan has also produced epic movies from the Shahname Legends -kindly click on the 1971 movie poster below to see the movie (segmented in 10 parts):

Readers are also introduced to the works of Master composer Loris Tjeknavorian  (click his photo below at left) and the  DVD production of the Rustam-Sohrab epic by the Dabiri Foundation (click on photo of the director of the foundation, Dr. Ali Dabiri below at right).

              Ali Dabiri


Robert Terpstra reviews Farrokh’s Iran at War

Robert Terpstra has written a review for Iran at War: 1500-1988 in The Business Daily Egypt (dated September 12, 2011). That review has been reproduced for reference below – the version printed below also features pictures and captions not originally displayed in Robert Terpstra’s review.

Farrokh has been interviewed twice on TV and six times on radio for Iran at War: 1500-1988-book has also been cited by the Wall Street Journal

Iran at War: 1500-1988. Osprey Hardcover 480 pages, released May 24, 2011 • ISBN: 978-1-84603-491-6. Contact: John Tintera, Marketing Director @ 718/433-4402,, To order consult Chapters-Indigo or Amazon.


Robert Terpstra of the Business Today reviews Iran at War (Sept. 12, 2011)

Documenting nearly five centuries of history is no small feat, and Kaveh Farrokh does it well in Iran at War: 1500–1988. Maybe not quite at the reading level of the titans of the seminal authors of history in Toynbee and Gibbon, but Farrokh is still able to hold his own even if it mimics Gibbon is in his incredibly uncanny gift for storytelling and the often laborious, but detailed account of key figures and dates on history’s battle grounds.

What is refreshing, however, is that the book discusses the Islamic Republic of Iran without painstakingly rehashing the Islamic Revolution, which appears in just about every book on the country. This is apparent when one visits the country, as I did in 2010. When traveling to Rasht in the north, as well as Tehran, Khorramshahr, Isfahan and Mashhad…a country obsessed with the past …And Farrokh truly takes advantage of this by writing this narrative.

-دلیران تنگستان در کنار رئیس علی دلواری -The warriors of Tangestan in the early 20th century. These proved to be highly resilient and determined fighters and often fought hard against imperial British troops inside Iran, especially in 1856 and during World War One (picture forwarded to by Parviz Khoupai).

As the title rightly indicates, the subject matter is simply that: war. And through six separate, yet interrelated, chapters, Farrokh interweaves his way through the Safavid Dynasty, the rise of Nader Khan in the mid-18th century, the all-important Qajar Dynasty that ruled until the close of World War I before Reza Khan and his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi…the downfall of the shah …return of Ayatollah Khomeini; and the rest is history.

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] A painting of the Battle of Karnal (February 22, 1739) made by Mosavar ol-Mamalek.The battle ended in an overwhelming victory for Nader Shah (see his statue in the inset photo). The Iranians then occupied Delhi and captured India’s royal jewels. Some Indian historians (i.e. Sarkar) have argued that India was severely weakened by Nader Shah; this allowed the British Empire to easily spread its dominance over the entire Indian subcontinent just decades after the battle of Karnal (picture source: R. Tarverdi (Editor) & A. Massoudi (Art editor), The land of Kings, Tehran: Rahnama Publications, 1971, p.228).

The strongest chapter indeed is Farrokh’s last, one dealing with the Iran-Iraq war, a bitter feud that lasted from 1980 to 1988, causing millions of casualties on both sides. It was also a war that the US and other regional powers did not want to see succeed on both sides. Other than the much-publicized Anfal campaign or the Halabja massacre in 1988 — chemical warfare directed toward the Kurdish minority and one of the crimes against which Saddam Hussein was tried — not much is known about the Iran-Iraq war. Farrokh helped change that. The final section ‘catastrophic destruction with no winners’ really tells all. With brief forays into each other’s territories, not a great deal of land was confiscated…

Pan-Arabism and Persophobia graduate from hate literatuire to violence: T-62 tanks of the Iraqi 6th Armored Division cross the border into Iran on 1400hrs September 22, 1980. Saddam Hussein and the Baath party of Iraq were convinced that as their tanks rolled into Khuzestan, they would be greeted as liberators by the Iranian Arabs. This may partly explain why the Iraqis miscalculated in the first days of their invasion by not allowing more infantry to accompany their rapid-moving armor in Khuzestan (see Iran at War: 1500-1988, 2001, pp.344-355). Instead of being hailed as liberators, Saddam Hussein’s forces were greeted with bitter opposition by the Iranians (including Khuzestani Arabs) whose dogged resistance assisted the overall Iranian effort at slowing down the Iraqi advance  (Photo Source:

The author states that one of the reasons for the warfare seemed to be centered around a Persian pan-Islamism belief versus a Baathist ideology in Saddam’s Iraq. The Battle for Khuzestan appears to be the most important, a strategically located province on the tip of the Persian Gulf. Even though Iraq had several other shipping avenues…the Fao offensives and battle over the Arvand Rud/Shatt al Arab waterway really were telling stages of the war. For Iran, the control of three strategic islands where the bulk of oil and shipping cargo traveled was a priority, to posit a great understatement. With an almost month-by-month and sometimes daily account, Farrokh’s incredibly detailed description of the Iran-Iraq war rivals any accounts of modern-day warfare history that this reviewer has lay witness to.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend – and then my enemy. Video of Donald Rumsfeld (Special envy of President Ronald Reagan in 1983) shaking hands with President Saddam Hussein on December 20, 1983. Rumsfeld was then to be one of the most vociferous advocates of removing Saddam by force in 2003.

What is telling, and what the author illustrates as an important part of his research, is the detailing of the territorial boundaries of the state — in 1772 stretching from Ghazni in modern day eastern Afghanistan west to Diyarbakir in modern day Kurdistan or Turkey proper. The empire reached as far north as the North Caucasus as well as encapsulating both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in present-day Iraq. Several maps throughout the book illustrate the growth and significant receding landmass of Iran. Presently, more than 200 years after the 18th century Afghan invasions, Iran still presents itself as an imposing state and a necessary inclusion in all conversations in negotiating mention of the volatile Middle East.

Some scenes from the Iran-Iraq war (1980-198): [1] Demoralized Iraqi army tank crew surrenders during the Iranian liberation of Khorranshahr in May 1982 (Picture Source: Military Photos) [2] Ex-Iraqi BMP armored personnel carriers being used by the Iranians against their former owners (Picture Source: Shahed) [3] A captured Iraqi French-made ROLAND low-altitude anti-aircraft missile system at Fao in February 1986 (Picture source: Military Photos) [4] Iranian troops transport captured Iraqi SAM missiles in the aftermath of the expulsion of occupying Iraqi forces from Khuzestan in May-June 1982 (Picture source: Military Photos).

The book is a must for the progression of modern day and historical Iranian scholasticism. At 480 pages, absorbing the book over time is best — a book that’s content contains such detail demands and deserves it.


Books on the History of the Iranian Air Force by Farzad Bishop and Tom Cooper

Farzad Bishop and Tom Cooper have written three excellent books which have done much to dispel myths regarding the Iranian air force. Much of the history of the Iranian air force (and indeed Iranian military history since ancient times) has often been narrated by historians often propelled by Eurocentrist, Classicist and political biases.

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] LEFT: Nader Jahanbani the flight leader of the Golden Crown aerial acrobat team in 1960 (highlighted by red line) (Source: IIAF website). RIGHT:  Painting of an Iranian air force F-14A depicted in combat during the Iran-Iraq war (picture by Osprey Publishing’s  “Iranian F-14 Tomcat Units in Combat” by Tom Cooper and Farzad Bishop, 2004). Nader Jahanbani worked hard to inculcate world-class air to air combat skills among Iranian fighter pilots. As noted by Cooper and Bishop, Iranian Tomcats repelled Russian flown Mig-25s violating Iranian air space before the 1978-1979 revolution and downed several Iraqi air force aircraft in 1980-1988, including aircraft flown by Western, Soviet and Pakistani pilots (see also Iran at War: 1500-1988,, 2011, pp. 397, 401).

By the late 1970s, the Iranian air force had produced an excellent cadre of top-gun pilots – these were as adept in air to air combat as they were in ground attack missions. This was in large part due to the efforts of a large pool of highly capable officers and personnel.


An Iranian F-5 Tiger (Picture source: pp. 31 in “IRIAF: 75th Anniversary review”, World Air Power Journal, Volume 39 Winter 1999 issue, pp.28-37). Research by Cooper and Bishop that an F-5 fired the  finishing rounds at an already damaged (by an F-14) Iraqi MiG-25 during the Iran-Iraq war. 

In one critical missions of the Valfajr-8 offensive (capture of Fao in 1986),, a pair of F-5s like the one above, attacked the headquarters of Iraq’s 5th Mechanized Division on March 4, 1986 (during the battle for Fao), killing the general and his entire staff (see Cooper & Bishop text “Iran-Iraq War in the Air” below). Thanks to the works of Bishop and Cooper, the daring exploits of Iran’s unknown airmen are finally coming to light. These researchers have done much to provide (at last) the real history of the Iranian air force since its inception in the early twentieth century.

It must also be mentioned that widespread translation and quotation of the Cooper-Bishop works have taken place in Persian publications and weblogs in recent years. Despite being sometimes doctored and even censored – these works have triggered a massive movement not only among young Iranian aviation enthusiasts, but also among the veteran air force pilots, and the service itself, to further dig out, document and disseminate historical details pertaining to that war.

It is also important to note that alongside the works of Bishop and Cooper, a whole series of independent publications have appeared in British military journals as well as first-class works in Iran that complement and further corroborate the works of Bishop and Cooper.

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] Iranian pilots and crew proudly pose with their venerable Tomcat. Iranian Tomcats faced vastly superior numbers of Iraqi aircraft, many of these piloted by non-Iraqi mercenary pilots. Iranian airmen such as these proved their mettle in supporting Iranian ground and naval forces in defense of Iranian territory and the Persian Gulf. Few as yet are aware of the incredible achievements of Iranian combat aircraft (especially the F-14 Tomcat) against Soviet-designed Tu-22, MIG-21, MIG-23, MIG-25, Su-22, Su-25 and French-designed Mirage F1EQ combat aircraft (Picture source: Cooper & Bishop, 2004).

The Bishop and Cooper books are not only of interest to Iranian and Western readers but also US-pilots who have flown the F-4 (Phantiom), F-5 (Tiger) and the F-14 (Tomcat). This review introduces readers to the following books produced by these authors.

  • The Iran-Iraq War in the Air: 1980-1988 (2000)
  • Combat Aircraft 37: Iranian F-4 Phantom II Units in Combat (2003)
  • Combat Aircraft 49: Iranian F-14 Tomcat Units in Combat (2004)

The Iran-Iraq War in the Air

The  first of the Bishop & Copper books to appear has been:

Title: The Iran Iraq War in the Air: 1980-1988

Publisher: Atglen, PA: Shiffer Military History (200o)

ISBN-10: 0764316699

ISBN-13: 978-0764316692

Order at Amazon or e-mail at









The contents of this book are as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Two Novel Air Arms
  • Chapter 2: The Shah’s Eagles
  • Chapter 3: Saddam’s Falcons
  • Chapter 4: First Gulf War, Phase I: Another Day of Infamy
  • Chapter 5: Phase II: Iraqi Spearhead into Iran
  • Chapter 6: Phase III: Iranian Counteroffensives
  • Chapter 7: Phase IV: Entering Iraq
  • Chapter 8: Phase V: Total War
  • Chapter 9: Phase VI: The Grand Slam
  • Chapter 10: Phase VII: Trading Hot Punches
  • Chapter 11: Phase VIII: The Mess in the Gulf
  • Chapter 12: Phase IX: The Final Air Battle
  • Summary


Perhaps the best perspective on this valuable contribution to aviation military history is provided by Dr. Sean M. Maloney (War Studies professor at Royal Military College):

In the English-language literature, the air campaigns of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s have received scant attention. It is common for those studying airpower to examine case studies based on the Anglo-American strategic bombing experience during the Second World War, the air war over Vietnam, Arab-Israeli experiences, or the first Gulf War of 1990-91. We now have a good window into a previously unexamined and fascinating modern air war: an American-trained-and-equipped force versus a Soviet-trained-and-equipped force fighting during the last decade of the Cold War.


At right is Iraqi SU-22 pilot, Captain Mohammad Radje Suleiman who was shot down and captured by the Iranians in the Eyne Khosh region in November 7, 1982 (Picture Source: Cooper & Bishop, 2003. pp.147). At left are remains of a two-seater Iraqi SU-22 UN-3K which was forced to crash land in Iran. The type was often used to fire anti-radiation missiles  against Iran’s deadly ground-based HAWK anti-aircraft system. The SU-22 airframe was part of a larger display shown at the First Iranian Grand War Exhibition held in Tehran on September 22-October 1, 2001 (Picture source: Farzad Bishop, Air Forces Monthly, 2000, pp.66).

Dr. Sean M. Maloney further notes that:

…the authors employ a chronological approach to the air war, and they have been careful to include the political and ground operational contexts for the air operations. Tactical helicopter, airmobile, and special operations aspects also receive recognition throughout, as do maritime air missions during the so-called Tanker War.

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] An excellent gun camera view of an F-4 Phantom attack on a rear Iraqi supply unit on May 15, 1984. The Phantom is flying very low as seen by its shadow; note explosions in background. Iran often launched successful attacks with its aircraft, but these were far too few to offset Iraq’s growing military strength on the ground and in the air.(Picture Source: Farzin Nadimi, Air Forces Monthly, Classic Aircraft Series no.1, The Phantom, 2000, pp.79).

Dr. Sean M. Maloney also observes that:

Cooper and Bishop have come up with some fascinating angles. ….detailed examination of how the Iranian Air Force remained operational during a period of crippling American economic and military sanctions and constant bombardment by Iraq…How was it able to keep its personnel motivated under very difficult conditions? Why was Iraq unable to prevail – despite having access to Soviet resources and American intelligence? What was the nature and extent of French support to Saddam Hussein’s air force? The answers will surprise you. On the operational side, readers will learn of a daring Iranian raid on the h -2 and h -3 bases in western Iraq…

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] At left is an Iraqi fighter aircraft flaming downwards at Fao in February 1986 – yet another victim of Iranian anti-aircraft defenses (Picture source: Military Photos). The Iranian HAWK missile batteries took a heavy toll of attacking Iraqi aircraft at Fao – see for example photo at left which shows an Iraqi SU-22M shot down in the Fao area on February 16, 1986. The extended rails indicate that the unfortunate pilot had tried to eject but had failed to do so – his charred body was found in the flaming cockpit. Though not recognized, Iranian combat aircraft acting in concert with HAWK anti-aircraft missiles, did much to support the Iranian success in the capture of Fao in 1986.  (Picture Source: Cooper & Bishop, 2000, pp.216).

Dr. Sean M. Maloney further concludes:

The book is profusely illustrated. It includes Iranian Air Force reconnaissance photos and more-than-adequate maps and order of battle charts…there is enough information in the early chapters to compare the development of both air forces. There are also details of how each of the air forces was equipped in the 1970s, and how this laid the groundwork for the 1980s. Of note, there is a beginning section that examines the Shah’s covert aerial intelligence-gathering efforts against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. This book is highly recommended to anyone interested in modern air warfare.


[CLICK TO ENLARGE] An Iranian Boeing 747-2J9F. Iranian pilots achieved something of a miracle with their Boeing 747s on May 9, 1982 when they transported over 6000 fully armed troops of the Khorasan’s  77th infantry division from Mashad (near the USSR-Afghanistan border in Iran’s northeast) to Khuzestan in a single night (Cooper & Bishop, 2000, pp. 134). This achievement had received little attention in the West, where the world record for this type of transport was incorrectly attributed to the Israeli airlift of 1200 Ethiopian Jews in a single night ( Picture Source: pp. 31 in “IRIAF: 75th Anniversary review”, World Air Power Journal, Volume 39 Winter 1999 issue, pp.28-37).

Readers are also referred to this excellent analysis of the book provided in

In air to air engagements, Iran’s kill ratio was roughly 5:1, which is only surpassed by the Israelis against Syria in 1982 and the US in the Gulf war in 1991. Very often, air engagements consisted of 1-2 Iranian fighters engaging 4, or even 8 Iraqi fighters and winning. It got to the point where Iraq ordered its pilots to avoid air to air engagements (especially with the F-14), and actually had to import mercenary pilots from Egypt, and even places like Belgium, South Africa, and East Germany to fly the critical missions!

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] An Iraqi Air Force Mirage F1EQ (left – picture source: Ejection History website ) and another Iraqi Mirage F1EQ which was shot down near Ahvaz on January 15, 1986 (right – picture source: Farzad Bishop) – the doomed Mirage exploded in mid-air when struck by a HAWK ground to air missile – note smoke still emanating from the wreckage.


Combat Aircraft 37: Iranian F-4 Phantom II Units in Combat

The  second of the Bishop & Copper books to appear has been:

Title: Iranian F-4 Phantom II Units in Combat (Combat Aircraft 37)

Publisher: Osprey Publishing (2003)

ISBN: 10: 1841766585

ISBN:  3: 978-1841766584

Order at Amazon or Osprey Publishing.


The contents of this book are as follows:

  • An IIAF Requirement
  • Revolution Sweeps
  • The Start of the War
  • Baghdad Express
  • Thrusting into Iraq
  • Fighting Over the Gulf
  • Final Assaults




This book outlines the different versions of the F-4 Phantom which was the workhorse of the Iranian air force throughout the 1970s. This venerable, tough and dour fighter-bomber has seen service with an entire generation of Iranian pilots and ground crew (both before and after the revolution).

Fill her Up! This F-4 Phantom is being refuelled by a Boeing 707 aerial tanker during the Iran-Iraq war. Iranian jets often refuelled before going into combat missions inside Iraq. This particular Phantom is equipped with six Mk-82 bombs (equipped with Snakeye retarding fins). These allowed the Phantoms to attack ground targets at low-level  and high-speed (Picture Source: Bishop & Cooper, 2003. colour picture 5).

The Phantom was indeed the workhorse of the Iranian air force during the 8-year Iran-Iraq war. Iranian F-4 Phantom IIs in particular were some of best equipped models exported by the US. Some Iranian Phantom II pilots accumulated massive combat experience with this aircraft, some flying this in combat for ten-plus years!

However, the Phantom II had already experienced combat even before the onset of the Iran-Iraq war. Iranian Phantoms flew alongside British Hunters during operations against Communist rebels in Oman in the 1970s. However the Phantom was also critical for defending Iranian airspace and territory.

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] Cold War encounter: Iranian F-4 Phantom in flight over Northern Iran (left) and a high-performance Soviet Air Force MIG-25 Foxbat interceptor (right). By the late 1970s Iranian pilots were approaching NATO levels of effectiveness. This was demonstrated by a Phantom II which shot down a highly advanced Soviet Air Force MIG-25 Foxbat which had entered Iranian airspace in 1977 (the stricken Soviet aircraft reportedly crashed inside the Soviet Union as it attempted to flee Iran). The rising abilities of Iranian pilots were duly noted in a USAF-Hughes Aircraft Company report.  

In one incident in June 1975, Iraqi tanks invaded Iran’s Khuzestan province in June 16, 1975. Iranian F-4E Phantoms wiped out an entire Iraqi tank column in 20 minutes – none of the Iranian F-4Es were lost. The Iraqi invasion force was then rapidly thrown back for just 3 Iranian casualties (for more information see Copper & Bishop, 2000, pp. 62 and Iran at War: 1500-1988, 2011, pp. 316-317).

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] -Tayyara! Tayyara! (Arabic: Airplane! Airplane!). Iraqi crew of a BMP armored peronnel carrier advancing in Iran in 1980 (at left) abandon their vehicle in haste at the sound of the roaring engines of two US-made Iranian F-4E Phantoms. Iranian Phantoms (at right) were also reported to be flying just meters above ground level to fire their 20mm cannon at Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles (Picture Source at left:; Picture Source at right: Farzad Bishop, Combat Aircraft 37, reproduced with permission in Iran at War: 1500-1988, 2011).

Iranian pilots repeatedlyexhibited their deadly skills throughout the  Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988. It was during the liberation of Khuzestan province in March-May 1982 when up to 95 F-4 and F-5 fighter aircraft virtually annihilated the Iraqi 12th armored division in a single operation (for more information see Iran at War: 1500-1988, 2011, pp. 363-364). Such feats set Iranian pilots on par with the world’s best.

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] Elements of the Iraqi 12th Armored Division assemble at Fakkeh (in the Dezful area) on March 23rd 1982 to rescue remnants of the Iraqi 4th Army Corps crushed by a powerful Iranian offensive (Left – Steven J. Zaloga, Modern Soviet Combat Tanks, Osprey Vanguard  37, pp.32).  As these units deployed to attack, they were bombed and strafed by up to 95 Iranian F-4 and F-5 combat aircraft.  The Iraqi 12th Armored Division was virtually eliminated. At right are Iranian regular army troops atop an overturned Iraqi tank of the 12th armored division (source: Note that the vehicle has been blown upside down as a result of aerial bombardment by Iranian F-4 and F-5 combat aircraft.   

Bishop and Cooper’s excellent text on Iranian Phantoms has finally removed the “info blackout” with respect to Iranian Phantom II missions before and during the Iran-Iraq war.

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] An F-4E lands after the conclusion of a successful mission during the Iran-Iraq war (date unknown). At the back-seat is war hero Lieutenant-General Abbas Babaie, who was at the time deputy-commander of the Iranian air force. Babaie also flew combat missions before finally being reportedly killed by Iraqi anti-aircraft fire (Picture Source: 2000, Air Forces Monthly Special: Classic Aircraft Series Number 1, “Combat over Iraq”).

Combat Aircraft 49: Iranian F-14 Tomcat Units in Combat

The third of the Bishop & Copper books to appear has been:

Title: Iranian F-14 Tomcat Units in Combat (Combat Aurcraft 49)

Publisher: Osprey Publishing (2004)

ISBN:10: 1841767875

ISBN: 13: 978-1841767871

Order at Amazon or Osprey Publishing.


The contents of this book are:

  • Introduction
  • The Requirement
  • The First Kills
  • Three-to-One!
  • Combat Continues
  • Crippling the Weasel
  • The Fog of Disinformation
  • Appendices



Before the overthrow of the Pahlavi establishment in 1979, the Iranian air force had ordered 80 F-14A Tomcats (79 were delivered before the revolution). Along with the Tomcats came the lethal AIM-54 Phoenix missiles.


[CLICK TO ENLARGE] Freshly delivered F-14 Tomcats at the Iranian airbase of Khatami before the revolution (Cooper & Bishop, 2004, Color plate 3).

Despite the massive disruptions wrought upon the air force in the aftermath of the revolution (i.e. purges, imprisonment, etc) Iran’s pilots were to achieve incredible feats in air to air combat in 1980-1988. The new leadership acquiesced to the reality that these ‘Top Gun” pilots were a vital element for Iran’s survival.


[CLICK TO ENLARGE] Iran’s Sattar-1 laser-guided air-to-ground missile designed after the Iran-Iraq war. This is believed to have borrowed some features from the Phoenix air to air missile. The Phoenix downed large numbers of Iraqi air force aircraft during the Iran-Iraq war,  including those flown by mercenary pilots (Picture source: The Arkenstone).

Though just beginning to be acknowledged, the Iranian pilots and ground crews demonstrated an unprecedented level of skill, which in combination with an ancient and deeply ingrained sense of national identity, allowed Iran to defend its airspace against seemingly impossible odds, right up to the ceasefire of August 1988. In one of the interviews conducted by Kaveh Farrokh for the recent text, Iran at War: 1500-1988, a veteran of the Iranian air Force named (“Ghahreman“) noted to the author that:

When the Iraqis invaded in 1980 a young colonel arrived at the Vahdati airbase… he bluntly told us ‘Gentlemen…today Iranzamin is theatened as it has been so many times in its ancient history…do not despair as you enter combat …you are the sons of Cyrus, Khosrow,  and Rustam of Iran Bastan [ancient Persia] …

This speech is reminiscent of the tribute given by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the British RAF’s exploits against the German Luftwaffe in 1940 – Churchill declared: “Never in history has so much been owed by so many to so few“. The pilots of the Iranian F-14s, F-4s and F-5s certainly deserve the same level of professional praise as that bestowed upon other world-class air fleets such as the RAF.


An Iranian F-14 Tomcat shows off a modified HAWK missile. The integration of the huge surface-to-air Hawk missile into the F-14 weapon system as an air-to-air missile was a surprising feat of ingenuity. When the pictures of Iranian Tomcats carrying the HAWK were released for the first time, most Western media had been claiming for years that Iran’s F-14 fleet was grounded due to lack of spare parts and qualified technicians to maintain them. Those pictures showed that the Iranians had become very good at reverse engineering Western systems without any assistance, to the point that they not only could keep the Tomcats airworthy. This also shows that the iranians are capable of coming up with Indigenous and imaginative solutions in order to use all weapons in their arsenal. (Picture source:  Mehr News).

Interestingly, the exploits of Iranian F-14 Tomcats remain largely unknown. There are numerous false narratives about the Iranian Tomcats during the Iran-Iraq such as claims that that the Iranians were  incapable of firing their Phoenix missiles (i.e. Sreedhar, 1985, pp. 127) or Western authors (.e. Peacock, 1986, pp.43, F-14 Tomcat, Osprey Publishing) repeating the Baathist-regime propaganda that Iraqi jets had downed as many as 70 Tomcats. Bishop and Cooper reveal that nearly all of these Baathist-based Western reports are overwhelmingly false.

Detailed post-war studies also based on Bishop and Cooper’s studies have been published in British military journals which question and revise claims such as those made by Peacock and Sridhar. Below are a number of excerpts by various editions of the British Air Forces Monthly journal:

Despite many reports to the contrary, the type [F-14A] was instrumental in defending Iranian air space…it used all its weapons to near perfection shooting down any type of combat aircraft in the Iraqi inventory…(2002, 177, pp.30)…the Tomcat shot down at least 95 Iraqi combat aircraft, at least thirty of which were confirmed as AIM-54A Phoenix killsseven and ten more were listed as probable kills… (2002, 169, pp.64)”

The World Air Power Journal reported that during the Iran-Iraq war:

“…the presence of one or two Tomcats was usually enough to send the Iraqi jets scurrying away. Only one Iranian Tomcat was confirmed as shot down in air to air combat during eight years of war…” (1999, pp. 32; see also report by Noush in Aircraft Illustrated, 1999).

Although research conducted by Cooper and Bishop so far show only one Tomcat loss can be positively attributed to air-to-air causes, however, newly surfaced data suggest probably more F-14s were lost to Iraqi aircraft. For further details click this link in ACIG…


WARNING-GRAPHIC PHOTO -[CLICK TO ENLARGE] An Iraqi  Mig-23 just before it was shot down by Iranian forces (left) and the remains of its unfortunate pilot after the plane crashed (right) (Picture sources: Military Photos Net). Iraqi Mig-23 aircraft suffered heavy losses at the hands of Iranian F-14s – despite much Soviet-East Bloc, French-Western, and some Indian assistance, right up to the last days of the war (Picture Source:  

As documented by Cooper and Bishop, Iranian F-14s downed large numberss of Iraqi Migs, Sukhoi, Tupolev and Mirage III fighters. In practice, the Iranian pilots would sometimes “rotate” by flying different aircraft types during the war.

What must be appreciated is the fact that some of the Iraqi jets, especially after 1983, were reportedly piloted by mercenary pilots of Russian, East German, Belgian, Egyptian, and probably even French pilots. Belgian pilot Max von Rosen for exanple, reportedly planned or even  led a number of air raids against the Iranian Kharq Island oil terminal. Cooper and Bishop also noted to on Sept. 12, 2011 the following:

…few Western mercenaries, a few French pilots seconded via the AMD, some Soviets on exchange tours, and few Egyptians flew with the Iraqi air force. The Indians were there from 1960s until 1980, and again in the 1983-86 period – but only as trainers assigned to IrAF training units.

The Flying Pharaohs: An Egyptian Mirage 5-SDE on an Iraqi airfield partaking in special combat (electronic warfare) operations against Iranian forces at Fao in 1986. Note that the Egyptian markings have been removed (Picture Source: Cooper & Bishop, 2003, pp.243).

The daring exploits of Iranian Tomcat pilots and their ground crew almost defy imagination and are a must-read for US Navy pilots who also used to fly the Tomcat.


An Iraqi air force Su-25 (left – Picture source:  Iran Defense Net – original owner of photo is Christopher Foss) and a  Su-22M shot down near Baneh in northwest Iran on October 16, 1987 (right – picture source: Farzad Bishop). The doomed Sukhoi was first targeted for termination by an Iranian Tomcat forcing the Iraqi jet to dive extremely low – the Su-22 did this to avoid being blasted by the Tomcat’s Phoenix missile. This only led the doomed jet into the sights of Iranian 35mm anti-aircraft guns which shot down the aircraft.

There are numerous other dramatic cases reported by Bishop and Cooper. One of these was the very lucky escape of Iraqi Generals Abdul Jabbar Mohsen and General Maher Abdul Rasheed of the Iraqi Fourth and Third Army Corps respectively.

The Generals had boarded a Mi-8 helicopter on November 20, 1982 to fly towards Iraq’s front lines. Two Mi-8s and eight fighter aircraft (four MIG-21s and four MIG-23s) provided escort for the VIP helicopter. What occurred next proved to be one of the most dramatic incidents of the entire Iran-Iraq war.

An Iranian  Tomcat appeared and fired its deadly Phoenix and Sidewinder missiles into the Iraqi aircraft. Two MIG-23s and one MIG-21 plunged downwards in flames – right in between the three helicopters. The debris narrowly missed the “VIP” helicopter of Generals Rasheed and Mohsen. This and the remaining aircraft rapidly fled with their lives from the scene.

The Iraqi pilots had had no idea how their comrades had been destroyed. Fortunately for the Iraqi generals, the Tomcat’s radar had not detected the slow moving helicopters. This was one experience that the Iraqi general’s never forgot – yet none of those encounters were ever reported in the Western media which was overwhelmingly pro Saddam Hussein at the time.

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] A two-phase painting of a dogfight between an Iranian Tomcat and an Iraqi MIG-21. At left the two adversaries are locked in combat and maneuvers and at right the Tomcat kills the MIG-21 (Picture source: Uskowi on Iran). It was on November 20, 1982 when a Tomcat like the one above fired its deadly Phoenix missiles into Iraqi MIG-21 and MIG-23 aircraft escorting a VIP Mi-8 helicopter ferrying  Iraqi Generals Abdul Jabbar Mohsen (Iraqi Fourth Army Corps) and General Maher Abdul Rasheed (Iraqi Third Army Corps). Three Iraqi combat aircraft were immediately blown to pieces . Luckily for the Generals, their helicopter had not been detected by the Tomcat’s AWG-9 radar – otherwise they most certainly would have been blotted out of the sky by one of the Tomcat’s  Phoenix missiles. General’s Mohsen and Rasheed had indeed had a “near-death experience”.

Bishop and Cooper also provided a detailed compendium of F-14 kills, identifying at least three Iranian aces, one with a minimum of nine confirmed kills. This list has more updated and corrected, and can be accessed on at this Acig link and this Acig link. As noted by Cooper and Bishop to (Sept. 12, 2011): Please be aware that this list has not been updated since 2006.

Video showing a practice dog-fight between two USAF F-16 Falcons and two USN F-14 Tomcats – the F-14 and F-16 are high-performance air superiority aircraft. Iran was due to obtain hundreds of state of the art F-16s and F-18s (as well as additional Tomcats) but luckily for Saddam Hussein (who invaded Iran in 1980), these plans never came to fruition after the 1979 revolution.

This book on the F-14 by Bishop and Cooper provides a major step forward in finally looking at the exploits of the Iranian Tomcat; free of political rhetoric and biased analyses. As in all works by these authors, this work on the F-14 is yet another must-read on the history of the Iranian air force.

[CLICK TO ENLARGE] A tribute to one of the Unsung Heroes of the Iranian War Effort: the F-14A Tomcat seen in new air superiority colors maneuvers after the war. The role of the Tomcat in the defense of Iran cannot be underestimated. It would be no exaggeration to state that despite the small numbers of Tomcats available throughout the war, these more than compensated against the vastly superior numbers of Iraqi aircraft, especially in the latter stages of the war. (Picture Source: pp. 31 in “IRIAF: 75th Anniversary Review”, World Air Power Journal, Volume 39 Winter 1999 issue, pp.28-37).

Iranian F-14 Tomcat emblem – note the word “Tom Cat” written in Persian  (Picture source: Iran Defense).

Further Comments & Updates

For an updated list of publications/articles by Cooper and Bishop  please see  the Acig website.

Cooper and Bishop  have also updated their previous publications with the ‘newly’ emerged data from the Iraqi side (unavailable when they wrote their first three books), which have largely appeared in a two volume French specials:

  • ‘La Guerre Iran-Irak: les combats aériens. Vol. 01’, Hors Série Avions No. 22, Septembre 2007
  •  ‘La Guerre Iran-Irak: les combats aériens. Vol. 02’, Hors Série Avions No. 23, December 2007)

and also in German:

  •  ‘Die “Persischen Kater”: F-14 Tomcat im Irak-Krieg’, Fliegerrevue EXTRA, Vol. 14, September 2006.

Readers are also allowed access to the photos of Cooper and Bishop from the Acig website -(click this link).


A Tribute to the late Dr. Hossein Ziai (1944-2011)

Dr.Mohammad  Tavakoli-Targhi  of the University of Toronto (Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations) and Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious  Iran Nameh: A Persian Quarterly of Iranian Studies –سردبیر، ایران نامه: فصل نامه ایران شناسی -(see the Iran Nameh also in Facebook) forwarded  the following important message to

Dr. Hossein Ziai (1944-2011) was a professor of Islamic and Iranian Studies, the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Chair in Iranian Studies, and Director of Iranian Studies at UCLA where he had taught since 1988. He received his Ph.D. in Islamic Philosophy from Harvard University in 1976 and had previously taught at Tehran and Sharif universities, Harvard, Brown and Oberlin College. Dr. Ziai published widely on Illuminationist philosophy and the “Persian Poetic Wisdom. He served as Chair of the 2010 Biennial Conference of the International Society of Iranian Studies (ISIS).

روحش شاد و یادش جاودان

Dr. Hossein Ziai (1944-2011)

Readers are alo referred to a tribute to the late Dr. Ziai placed in the website.  Below is moving  documentary which has been produced for the late Dr. Ziai by Dr. Tavakoli-Targhi :