Iran is one of the most mine-infested nations in the world. One person is maimed or killed every day due to the nearly 16 millions landmines littered throughout the country. Some estimates place Iran as the second-most mine infested country behind Afghanistan.
Iran’s Mine Action Center, the government body established to oversee mine clearance, has never released the exact number of landmine victims. Iran civil society experts note that most of the victims are children who are unaware of the dangers of playing with mines. According to available statistics, landmines are concentrated along the 1,100km border with Iraq. These are the deadly leftovers from the Iran-Iraq War that waged from 1980-1988.
Iran has cut ties to western aid organizations in protest to existing sanctions. Iran is therefore not covered by the Landmine Monitor, which provides research and monitoring to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi established the Association for Demining in Iran in 2003, the only such national NGO focused on the de-mining effort. This organization was forced to shut down in 2008. As a result, national and international efforts to eradicate Iran of landmines have stalled.