United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG)

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United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG)

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The United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG) was established along with an agreed upon ceasefire between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Iraq in August 1988, ending almost eight years of war. In accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 598, UNIIMOG was mandated, “to verify, confirm and supervise the ceasefire and withdrawal of the forces to the Internationally Recognized Boundaries (IRB) and the cooperation of Iran and Iraq in mediation efforts to achieve a peace settlement.”

The Secretary-General sent a technical mission to Iran and Iraq from 25 July to 2 August 1988. Lieutenant-General Martin Vadset (Norway), Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), led the mission, which included a senior political adviser, a civilian logistics expert and four military observers from UNTSO. It was assisted by small teams which had been stationed in Baghdad and Tehran since 1984.

During the technical mission, meetings were held with political and military authorities in Iran and Iraq to determine the method of operation of UNIIMOG, its deployment in each of the two countries, and the cooperation and facilities it would require from both parties. On 7 August 1988, the Secretary-General presented a report to the Security Council containing his proposals and outlining the terms and conditions for the precise mandate of UNIIMOG once a date for the ceasefire had been set. The report was approved by the Council through Resolution 619 of 9 August 1988.

The deployment of UNIIMOG’s advance party arrived in Iran and Iraq on 10 August 1988. Within two weeks, contingents from 24 contributing countries arrived in the mission area and military observers were distributed to UNIIMOG headquarters, sectors and team sites. Major-General Slavko Jovic was appointed Chief Military Observer (CMO) from August 1988 until November 1990. Upon his departure, Brigadier-General S. Anam Khan took command as the Acting Chief Military Observer (A/CMO) from November until February 1991.

UNIIMOG Headquarters were established in Tehran and Baghdad, and the CMO and his senior staff spent alternate weeks at each location. In addition, an Assistant Chief Military Observer (ACMO) was permanently stationed in each capital and directed UNIIMOG operations respectively, under the command of the CMO. On 1 September 1988, Jan Eliasson, the Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations in New York, was appointed by the Secretary-General as his Personal Representative on Issues Pertaining to the Implementation of Security Council Resolution 598.

UNIIMOG was established and in place when the ceasefire officially came into effect on 20 August 1988. Initially UNIIMOG’s mandate was for a period of six months starting from 9 August 1988 to 8 February 1989, but subject to renewal if the Security Council so decided. According to its mandate, UNIIMOG: established with the parties, agreed ceasefire lines on the basis of the forward defended localities occupied by the two sides on D-Day; monitored compliance with the ceasefire; investigated alleged violations of the ceasefire and restored the situation if a violation took place; prevented, through negotiation, any other change in status quo, pending withdrawal of all forces to the IRB; supervised, verified and confirmed the withdrawal of all forces to the IRB; and obtained the agreement of the parties to other arrangements which, pending negotiation of a comprehensive settlement, could help to reduce tension and build confidence between them. The mandate was updated and renewed six times. During the six extensions of the mandate the responsibilities of UNIIMOG were amended: to resolve remaining problems on the border; to arrange an exchange of information between the parties about unmarked minefields; and to help in the negotiation of an area of separation and, subsequently, an area of limited armaments. UNIIMOG completed its mandate on 28 February 1991.

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