INTRODUCTION: The United Nations began a fresh attempt at mediation in the Iran-Iraq conflict on Wednesday (14 January) after the two sides fought the biggest tank battle since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
GVs Iraqi tanks along desert track near Susangerd (2 shots)
GV & SV Damaged Iranian tanks (2 shots)
SV PAN & SV Burning Iranian tanks
SV Iraqi soldiers standing beside burning Iranian tank
GV PAN Iraqi soldiers stand to attention while their comrades dig graves for dead Iraqi troops
CU Soldier puts dead comrade's army identification tag in jar.
GVs Iraqi soldiers present arms and salute as bodies placed in graves and graves filled in (5 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The United Nations began a fresh attempt at mediation in the Iran-Iraq conflict on Wednesday (14 January) after the two sides fought the biggest tank battle since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. United Nations Special Envoy Olaf Palme, a former Swedish Prime Minister, had talks with an Iraqi government delegation after flying in to Baghdad late on Tuesday night (13 January). He is due to visit Teheran later this week.
SYNOPSIS: The talks follow the heaviest fighting since the conflict began last September. Early this month Iran launched a major counter-offensive but Iraq claims it has repulsed the main thrust of the attack near the southwest Iranian town of Susangerd.
To back their claims Iraqi officials took foreign newsmen to the battle front on Tuesday (13 January). Iraqi commanders at a desert base south of Susangerd told reporters last week's battle had involved 600 tanks supported by artillery, planes and helicopters. They said the Iranians had attacked with an armoured division of 330 tanks and were defeated in a four-day battle. The Iraqis claimed they captured more than 50 British-built Chieftains and American-made M-60 tanks from the Iranians.
An Iraqi general admitted that the Iraqis had taken a heavy pounding and said forty four Iraqi soldiers were killed. Iraqi forces stormed into Iran's oil-producing province of Khuzestan in September. But apart from capturing most of the port city of Khorramshahr, they have been unable to take Susangerd and other key towns. Instead they have occupied desert strips now largely waterlogged by winter rains.