Islamic Republic of Iran
Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
In its written statement submitted to the ICJ in the Nuclear Weapons case
in 1995, the Islamic Republic of Iran stated: “Some of the principles of humanitarian international law from which one can deduce the illegitimacy of the use of nuclear weapons are: … Distinguishing between military and civilian targets.”
The Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran states: “The opinio juris
of Iran recognises the distinction between military objectives and civilian objects.”
According to the Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, “Iran always insisted that war must be limited to battlefronts … and that all targets were military objectives”.
According to the Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, during the Iran–Iraq War, Iranian authorities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Parliament, condemned Iraqi attacks on civilian objects, which Iran always regarded as war crimes. The report further points out that Iran always insisted that war must be limited to battlefronts and that it had no intention of attacking civilian objects. When Iraq accused Iran of bombarding civilian targets, Iranian military communiqués denied these allegations and claimed that Iranian attacks were limited to military or economic facilities. The report concludes that “in practice, civilian objects were not targeted, except [in] reprisal”.
In reply to a message of 9 June 1984 from the UN Secretary-General, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran stated:
In the course of more than three and a half years since the beginning of this war, Iraq has repeatedly attacked our residential areas in contravention of all international and humanitarian principles … The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, however, in order to show its good faith, responds positively to your proposal on ending attacks on residential areas … I deem it necessary to underline that the good will shown by the Islamic Republic of Iran in response to your proposal to stop attacks on civilian areas is conditional on the total ending of the Iraqi régime’s criminal acts of bombarding Iranian cities.
In 1991, in a letter addressed to the UN Secretary-General during the Gulf War, the Islamic Republic of Iran stated:
In accordance with the same principles governing its foreign policy and consistent with the very strong and clear position adopted against bombardment of civilian areas in Iraq by allied forces, the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot remain but alarmed at numerous reports of horrifying attacks by government forces against innocent civilians.
According to the Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, during the Iran–Iraq War, the Iranian authorities accused Iraq on many occasions of having carried out attacks on civilian objects such as schools, houses, hospitals and refugee camps.
The Report on the Practice of the Islamic Republic of Iran states that during the Iran–Iraq War, the Iranian authorities accused Iraq on many occasions of having carried out attacks against civilian objects, including civilian aircraft, trains and merchant ships.