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12-Year-Old ‘Martyr’ on New Iranian Banknote

September 21, 1988

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ A 12-year-old boy who blew up an Iraqi tank by stringing grenades around his body and flinging himself under it will be shown on a new Iranian 1,000 riyal banknote, the official Islamic Republic news agency said Tuesday.

IRNA said Hussein Fahmideh died during the Iraqi siege of Abadan in Khuzistan province in the early years of the 8-year-old Iran-Iraq war.

The report, monitored in Nicosia, said that Iranian patriarch Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini once referred to Fahmideh and part of the quote will appear on the note: ″Our leader is that 12-year-old child who ...″

Khomeini’s picture will be on the other side of the note, said IRNA.

The note, worth a little over $14 at the official exchange rate, will start circulating Sept. 22, it said.

Iran says Iraq started the gulf war on that day in 1980.

A U.N.-sponsored cease-fire in the war went into effect Aug. 20, and peace talks are set to resume in early October in New York.

No estimates are available on how many children were part of Iran’s armed forces. But the United Nations and humanitarian groups said the children were often used on the frontlines to clear minefields, following Khomeini’s instructions that ″martyrs″ who died in the war would be rewarded with paradise.

Iran has previously denied that children were an established part of its war effort.

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