The Iran–Iraq War was extremely costly in lives and material, and was the deadliest war ever fought between developing countries. It cost Iran an estimated 1 million casualties (killed or wounded), and civilians deaths continue as a result of Iraqi chemical weapons. Iraqi casualties are estimated at 250,000–500,000, and thousands of civilians on both sides died in air raids and ballistic missile attacks. Prisoners taken by both countries began to be released in 1990, though some were not released until more than 10 years after the end of the conflict. Cities on both sides had also been considerably damaged.
The war left the borders unchanged. Two years later, as war with the western powers loomed, Saddam recognised Iranian rights over the eastern half of the Shatt al-Arab, a reversion to the status quo ante bellum that he had repudiated a decade earlier.
On 9 December 1991, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, UN Secretary General at the time, reported that Iraq's initiation of the war was unjustified, as was its occupation of Iranian territory and use of chemical weapons against civilians:
That explanations do not appear sufficient or acceptable to the international community is a fact...cannot be justified under the charter of the United Nations, any recognized rules and principles of international law, or any principles of international morality, and entails the responsibility for conflict. Even if before the outbreak of the conflict there had been some encroachment by Iran on Iraqi territory, such encroachment did not justify Iraq's aggression against Iran—which was followed by Iraq's continuous occupation of Iranian territory during the conflict—in violation of the prohibition of the use of force, which is regarded as one of the rules of jus cogens...On one occasion I had to note with deep regret the experts' conclusion that "chemical weapons ha been used against Iranian civilians in an area adjacent to an urban center lacking any protection against that kind of attack.
In 2005, the new government of Iraq apologised to Iran for starting the war. The Iraqi government also commemorated the war with various monuments, including the Hands of Victory and the al-Shaheed Monument, both in Baghdad.
Read more about this topic: Iran-Iraq War
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