Sunday, January 26, 2014

Translation - A Description of the Iranian Army's Peace-Keeping Forces

Title: The idea of world peace - An Interview with Colonel 2nd-Class Mohammed-Reza Kazemi, commander of the peace-keeping Bn in the 16th armored division.
Source: Saff Magazine, Issue #370, p.22

Introduction: The 16th armored division is the only unit which has a peace-keeping bn. ... Usually the philosophy of an army is to fight foreigners who have crossed the border. We were faced with an army whose work is keeping the peace in regions that, for whatever reasons, are already in war. This army is an answer to the call of the world, [unclear]. Before the UN, the 'League of Nations' had shown that there are many problems to face. Since it did not commit to its words, its operational leverage was very limited. [undecipherable]. We sat down with the commander of this battalion to interview [him].

Question 1: Honorable Colonel! It is possible that even much of our military audience has been unaware of the existence of the peace-keeping bn of the 16th armored division. Therefore, we ask you you talk about what time it began its operations, and how these operations continue.

Answer 1: I am Colonel 2nd-Class Mohammed-Reza Kazemi. The peace-keeping bn was formed in the year 1372 under the order/command of [?]. Under this order, one bn from the army ... was organized into a peace-keeping bn. The 185th mechanized-infantry bn of the 16th division, which was the most qualified army unit, was considered for the mission. This bn ... when evaluated... was found to be suitable for this mission.

I must mention that this bn endured many ups and downs, and has become more skilled on a day-to-day [basis]. From those years until now, we've tried to internalize [the lessons learned] from the various missions. Part of these missions were different, which [included] having assigned personnel to UN relief/aid missions.

Question 2: Needless to say, the mission and structure of this battalion are different from other battalions; please talk about these differences.

Answer 2: In shape, the organization of the peace-keeping bn is seven companies, which were classified according to the organization's mission [?]. Training in the PK bn is divided into two parts: one part is general training, which should take into account the PK bn's similarities to other bns, because general training is the same as other bns. The other aspect of training is the specialized training, which is based on the organization's mission. This type of training is taken from publications, which the UN sent to the bn.

The PK bn is completely ready to send [its] force. Currently, we are deployed in a state of 'readiness/stand-by'. According to the chain of command, the bn represents the Army in these operations.

Question 3: If it is possible, talk regarding parts of the missions carried out by this bn ...

Answer 3:The PK-bn has conducted several training-operations inside of several countries. Selected officers from [other] countries have participated [in them]. [?] These officers, after a visit to their home-countries, deployed in a number of missions within the UN-structure, and it is an honor that these officers' training missions were in our country. [?] The PK-bn has sent forces to: Eritrea, North and South Sudan, and Ethiopia. The force(s) were observation-training-officers and were located within the UN organization/structure. All deployed officers received a peace-keeping medal and a letter of appreciation from the Army.

Question 4: Now that we have reached this part of the interview, I want to ask [for an] analysis of the country's military that were present alongside you, how is the Iranian military? [Is he asking how are the Iranian-soldiers he served alongside, or how are the other-country's soldiers that the Iranian-officers served alongside?]

Answer 4: [unclear] I, as an Iranian, was proud when I saw that officers from other countries viewed Iranian officers very favorably. Before I came, I heard them say that “your's is the only country that is independent and stands on its own feet”. It is natural that I was not surprised by these words[;] their perspective is a product of the success that our society has gained in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution.

Question 5: I think that this battalion has natural attractions for recruitment. Please, talk about the characteristics and indicators that each must have had been able [to do] in order to serve in this battalion (?) ... .

Answer 5: [unclear] Having the authorization of the Dep't of Manpower, the representative(s) of this battalion are sent to cultural centers (?), and  makes the choice of who are eligible to serve in the PK-Bn from among the personnel in training. One of the criteria is their interest in serving on a PKO. The [personnel] selected for this purpose must have complete readiness for a mission in each/every area of the world. [unclear]. ... Another selection-feature is a familiarity with the English language, which gives priority. Naturally, a person's [personal] views are evaluated. The reality is – we believe – that all Army personnel have the capability to be sent on these missions, and have the traits that I described.

Question 6: [given] the scale of the mission, and that [there is] only one bn, my question is[:] are there any plans for developing this type of unit in the army?

Answer 6: You are right. It is predicted that if the NEZAJA participates in PKOs, and if their capability would be insufficient for the such as mission, other battalions [could/would] quickly organize, train, and go on their mission.

Question 7: Let me outline a controversial question. We know that the characteristic and philosophy [for the] existence of armies is war. However, the task of such a battalion [as this] is to end the fighting, which is inconsistent with the existential-philosophy of the Army. My question is this: Why have other organizations not taken this role and how will experts evaluate this conflict.

Answer 7: The policy of the IRI – such that we know – is based on relaxation/detente and the establishment of peace and friendship, and respect for fellow man. The Army is moving in line with this policy. What you say is true, but we do not have an offensive and warmongering spirit in the establishment of such a unit, rather, we advocate peace and those values. Maybe, one of the examples of this claim is the change of one of our combat battalions, which we have made into a peace-keeping battalion.

Question 8: As a person who has experienced the peace-keeping forces of other countries, is most of mankind moving toward peace or war?

Answer 8: I must say that there are many variables in that question. Arrogant countries illegally and coercively intervene in weak countries, which naturally adds tension. These countries are pursuing their own interest. It is obvious they want the creation of this tension [to] procure the resources in these countries and also to find a market for the sale of their weapons. Therefore, one cannot definitively answer this question; because the reply to tour question is affected by the interference of imperialist countries. If they would [stop interfering] – which appears unlikely – the world would be moving toward peace.

Question 9: [question about what chain-of-command the bn operates under]

Answer 9: [The PK-bn, when it is on a mission, is under the command of the central HQ, which is probably from another country.]


  1. Hi Galen,

    It's Nico again with a site that I 'm not quite sure about. It seems to be vaguely military, maybe police? There's a firing range and in the older picture (2010) in Google Earth, you can spot 4? bunkers. Also in the newer 2013 picture, you can spot what looks like a new SAM? site about 1/4 mile north. It would appear to be 4 round concrete positions for SAM or AAA. In the older picture, it does look military, compared with the 2013 and all the green vegetation, it looks more like maybe an police academy or school.....I didn't see any military vehicles or artillery pieces.,53.021597&spn=0.008717,0.012746&t=h&z=17

    Thanks for your assistance and the great job you do,Nico

  2. Sorry for the late response.

    Anyways, I checked it out and I didn't know what it was, but I looked it up in Wikimapia and apparently its the IRGC's 25th Division. Interestingly enough, I found an interview with one of the division's commander's and - although I didn't go through it closely - he seemed to indicate that there were two distinct units - a) the 25th operation(-s)(-al) division, and b) the 25th special division. Maybe one was a wartime designation?

    In the Army, the 'operations' label is frequently applied to non-combat bodies that coordinate operations between different combat units. The term is also seemingly used interchangeably with the label 'tactical' (as in, 'tactical headquarters')

    I'm not sure about its use in the IRGC though, I've seen it applied to Basij battalions as well as regular divisions. Maybe it doesn't signify anything remarkable? Maybe it refers to the division's role in coordinating Basij forces?

    Bottom line - I guess - is that I don't really know what that means (helpful, I know :) )

    The second thing I don't know (I'm on a roll!) is whether or not the IRGC breaks up their divisions into different garrisons in the same manner as the Army. If not, the garrison's size just underlines the size differences between Army and IRGC units. The garrison in question smaller than some Army battalions.

  3. I saw something in Wikimapia too but I couldn't get the translation to work, the only thing I could get was 25. Thanks, appreciate very much what you do!