April 25, 1980: Nightmare of Tabas
April 25, 1980: Nightmare of Tabas
1980 was a year filled with bittersweet memories for the Islamic Revolution of Iran. It was the year that the Sacred Defense and Iraqi-imposed war broke out.

April 25, 1980: Nightmare of Tabas

1980 was a year filled with bittersweet memories for the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

It was the year that the Sacred Defense and Iraqi-imposed war broke out. It was the year of sand storm in Tabas Desert in South Khorasan Province. It was the year one could see God’s hand behind the victory of Iranian nation. One of the most important, decisive and unforgettable days in the history of Islamic Iran was the day which was created by the U.S. President Jimmy Carter in Tabas Desert in support of owners of wealth and force and it became a turning point in the history and Americans have not yet taken a lesson from that event and despite witnessing the Almighty God’s support from the Islamic Revolution of Iran.


On this great day, Almighty God once again helped revolutionary Iranian nation and caused wind and sand storm to blow a heavy defeat on His enemies, and the greatness of that God’s miracle has not been yet wiped out of minds friends and foes. Sands and winds, which emerged for the victory of the newly-established Islamic system, branded the forehead of the Great Satan with sign of humiliation because Allah in the Holy Quran in verse 7 of chapter Muhammad says, “if you support Allah, He will support you and plant firmly your feet,” and His promise is infrangible . God once again showed the people Am al-Fil (year of the elephant). He humiliated gravel of the Satan and they fled empty handed with suffering heavy losses and leaving several of their dead bodies in Tabas.

On those days, media outlets had quoted the U.S. military commanders as saying, “Only we were and the storm and Iranians were unaware of what was happening but all ended in favor of them.” On April 24, 1980, six aircrafts and eight copters of the U.S. forces entered Iran’s air space to start an operation, known as Operation Eagle Claw, for airlifting 53 American hostages. According to the media reports, during the operation and upon entering Iran’s air space, one of the U.S. copters encountered a technical failure 120 kms off Ravar in Kerman Province and was forced to land and their crew were transferred to another copter but this copter also faced technical problem and their crew were forced to return to the U.S. aircraft carrier. Six aircrafts and six copters succeeded in getting to Tabas and in the darkness of the night landed in a remote area without being noticed by Iranian military forces. During refueling, another U.S. copter broke down and before the operation began, the U.S. forces had lost three copters.

After this failure and its report to the Pentagon, U.S. President Carter from the White House (The Black House of today) ordered the return of forces. It seems he had dreamt what a nightmare awaited him. Hence, the operation for return of forces began. But when the planes and copters were to take off, suddenly sand storm began and God’s hands appeared. A C130-aircraft and a RH-53 Sea Stallion chopter collided with each other and both caught fire and they were grounded. In this accident, eight experienced and trained U.S. navies burned in fire and rehearsed the hell and they left behind an experience for the history to be remembered. Actually four copters were unable to fly and they were grounded. So the U.S. troops with five remaining planes could reach USS Nimitz supercarrier and the operation ended in total failure even without being noticed by Iranian military forces.

It was surprising because the operation was being carried out in a relatively bright night and somewhat a moonlit night. It is obvious that in such nights there is no news of storms and heavy winds in desert and according to the U.S. meteorological office, the weather on the night of operation had been forecasted as clear and no storm had been forecasted.

President Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski later in his book of memoire wrote about this event and about President Carter’s mood after ordering return of the troops and damages inflicted on the U.S. planes and copters. He described Carter’s face and mood as follows, “The President held his head between his two hands and for some seconds put it on the table…. After hearing this bad news, he squirmed in anguish like a wounded snake, and concern was apparent in his face and he was swearing at his associates.”

After the full collapse of the operation, which was aimed at taking Tehran, at martyring Imam Khomeini and at releasing hostages, U.S. forces were forced to escape with such a fiasco, and the White House in a statement officially accepted the defeat. According to the documents, American officials informed the then Iran President Abolhassan Banisadr that important documents had been left in the copters which seemed those documents include the directives for Americans’ insiders in Iran who were to cooperate with them during the operation. So immediately, Banisadr, who was the commander of forces  with Imam Khomeini’s order, and with support of Hojjatoleslam Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ahmad Khomeini ordered directly bombarding the U.S. copters, and consequently the confidential and important documents in the copters burned into ashes and the Commander of the IRGC in Yazd Province Mohammad Montazer Ghaem, who was present in the operation scene to protect the copters till getting necessary order from the central headquarters, was martyred during the bombardment.

After this event, the late Imam Khomeini in a message said, “Was not it a hidden hand? Who brought down copters of Mr. Carter? Did we do? Sands brought them down. Sands and winds were God’s agents.”

And so the Tabas Nightmare as one of the biggest defeats of the Great Satan was registered in the history as a lesson for the posterity.

 By: Hamid Reza Naghashian

  • source : irannewsdaily