Ali Sayad Shirazi

Ali Sayad Shirazi (Persian: علی صیاد شیرازی‎, 13 June 1944 – 10 April 1999) was an Iranian regular military (Artesh) officer. He served as commander of the Ground Force during Iran–Iraq War. He was assassinated by Mojahedin-e Khalq[4] in 1999 while serving as the deputy chief of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staff.

Ali Sayad Shirazi
General Shirazi.jpg
Nickname(s)The Iron Man[citation needed]
Butcher of Kurdistan[1]
Born(1944-05-13)13 May 1944
Kaboudgonbad, Khorasan, Iran
Died10 April 1999(1999-04-10) (aged 54)
Tehran, Iran
Service/branchArmy (1964–1989)
General Staff (1989–1999)
Years of service1964–1999
RankMajor General[2]
Lieutenant general (posthumously)
Commands heldGround Force
AwardsOrder of Fat'h (1st Class).svg Order of Fath (two 1st Classes)[3]

Early lifeEdit

Shirazi was born in Kabud Gonbad Rural District, Iran, on 13 June 1944. His father being a non-commissioned officer in the Army motivated him to join and in 1964 he joined as a cadet.[5]


Shirazi was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Artillery and in 1974, he was sent to the United States for further military education. When he returned to Iran he showed opposition to the policies of the Pahlavi government and participated in some street demonstrations. He then joined the opposition movement against the Shah. During the 1979 revolution, he served in the 64th Infantry Division in Urumiyeh.[6] He was later awarded the rank of lieutenant general of the Iranian armed forces.[5]

During the Iran–Iraq War Sayad Shirazi became one of the most important generals of Iran. In 1981, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini appointed him commander of the Ground Forces of the Iranian Army. In 1982, he led the Iranian Pasdaran and Basij soldiers to victory in the Iranian Operation Undeniable Victory, this was the first time Iran was able to defeat Iraq in a major battle, Iran broke through Iraq's "impenetrable" defense lines and expelled them from the Dezful-Shush area, this operation is considered by many as the turning point in the war. During Iran's attempt to capture Basra with Operation Ramadan Shirazi was said: We will continue the war until Saddam Hussein is overthrown so that we can pray at Karbala and Jerusalem.

In 1986, he was named member of the Supreme Defense Council.[7] However, three weeks after this appointment Shirazi was relieved of his post as commander of the ground forces.[7]

In 1988, the People's Mujahedin of Iran with help of Saddam Hussein invaded West-Iran and battled Iranian forces for Kermanshah. Iran's counter offensive, Operation Mersad (led by Shirazi), defeated MEK forces.[5] He also led other successful military operations against Iraq, such as, Operation Zafar 7; and Operation Nasr-4. In 1989, Shirazi was awarded the highest military distinction in the Iranian armed forces, the Fath (Conquest) medal.[citation needed]

When the war concluded, Shirazi was not promoted to major general (unlike his counterparts), but was instead given various staff assignments.[8]


Ali Sayad Shirazi and Mohsen Rezaee

A clash and disagreement over strategy to be adopted in the Iran-Iraq war emerged between Shirazi and Mohsen Rezaee, commander of the Revolutionary Guards, in July 1986.[7] When this rivalry became public, Ayatollah Khomeini met them in his residence on 19 July 1986 and urged them to "seek unity", telling them "You must endeavor, not to think in terms of being members of the Armed Forces or those of the Guards Corps or of the Basij forces. ... We must understand that if there were to be any disputes among you ... not only are we doomed here and now, but we also are guilty before God." It remains unclear why, Mohsen Rezaee, who had little military experience was in a technical dispute with a senior general.[7]

Ali Sayyad Shirazi (with Mohsen Rezai, and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani) was seen as among "the most hawkish of Iran’s military and civilian leaders, and those who most clearly advocated for continuing the war into Iraq."[9]


On 10 April 1999, 6:45 local time, Shirazi was assassinated outside his house while on his way to work. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a message on Shirazi's martyrdom.[5] Iranian ex-President Khatami described him as "a selfless commander of Islam and honorable son of Iran."[citation needed] A Mujahedeen Khalq spokesman said that Shirazi had been targeted because for "purging and executing military personnel and for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of teen-agers in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980's, in which he commanded Iran's ground forces."[10]


Funeral of General Ali Sayad Shirazi

Thousands of people attended his state funeral. Shirazi has had several streets, buildings and military complexes named after him, including a subway station and a highway in Tehran.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sepehr Zabir (2012). The Iranian Military in Revolution and War. Routledge. p. 132.
  2. ^ a b Ali Chenar (2 April 2010), "Exploiting Martyrs for Propaganda", Tehran Bureau, PBS, retrieved 5 October 2017
  3. ^ Poursafa, Mahdi (20 January 2014). گزارش فارس از تاریخچه نشان‌های نظامی ایران، از «اقدس» تا «فتح»؛ مدال‌هایی که بر سینه سرداران ایرانی نشسته است [From "Aghdas" to "Fath": Medals resting on the chest of Iranian Serdars]. Fars News (in Persian). Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Iranian General Is Assassinated in Teheran". The New York Times. The Reuters. 11 April 1999. Archived from the original on 17 July 2019. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d "Ali Sayed Shirazi". IRIB. Archived from the original on 2 May 2006.
  6. ^ "National security". Pars Times. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d Sick, Gary G. (Spring 1987). "Iran's Quest for Superpower Status". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Exploiting Martyrs for Propaganda". PBS.
  9. ^ Afshon Ostovar (2016). Vanguard of the Imam: Religion, Politics, and Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Oxford University Press; 1 edition (1 April 2016). p. 254. ISBN 978-0199387892.
  10. ^ "Iranian General Is Assassinated in Teheran".

External linksEdit

  Media related to Sayyad Shirazi at Wikimedia Commons

Military offices
Preceded by
Qasem-Ali Zahirnejad
Commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army Ground Forces
Succeeded by
Hossein Hassani Sa'di
New title Vice Chief of the General Staff of Iranian Armed Forces
for Inspection

Title next held by
Hedayat Lotfian
Preceded by
Mohammad Forouzandeh
Deputy Chief of the General Staff of Iranian Armed Forces
Succeeded by
Gholam Ali Rashid
Political offices
Preceded by
Qasem-Ali Zahirnejad
Supreme Leader's Representative
at Supreme National Defence Council

With: Mohsen Rafighdoost
Succeeded by
Hassan Rouhani