In the Gulf war, Iranian troops and civilians defending the vital oil cities of Khorramshahr and Abadan have been virtually cut off from the rest of the country.
GV TRAVELLING SHOT Smoke from oil fires in Khorramshahr (2 shots)
GV Street scene with smoke in background
SV Armed troops and civilians in streets with rifles (3 shots)
SV Soldier aiming grenade launcher and running across street (2 shots)
GV & SV PAN Armed civilians and soldiers in the street (5 shots)
SV Wounded woman picked up and carried to private car
SV Blood on street, TILT UP TO Soldier standing guard. (2 shots)
GV PAN Children playing in destroyed buildings (6 shots)
SV Children waving to camera and holding portraits of the Ayatollah Khomeini
SCU Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Rajai speaking
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Background: In the Gulf war, Iranian troops and civilians defending the vital oil cities of Khorramshahr and Abadan have been virtually cut off from the rest of the country. Having failed to take either centre completely on Thursday (16 October) the Iraqi forces launched an encircling movement which the Iranian defenders were apparently not expecting.
SYNOPSIS: Khorramshahr has been without electricity or water for more than two weeks now but Iranians there are fighting on in a desperate defence of the city. The attacking Iraqis appear to be waiting for them to run out of food and ammunition, while keeping the Iranian-held districts under constant artillery fire. The shelling has completely flattened some buildings and oil storage tanks are still on fire three weeks after the war began.
Butcher Street is the road which divides the two sides. Iraqi troops hold the docks, railway junction and parts of the suburbs. But the rest of Khorramshahr is still Iranian controlled. It's held by armed civilians and guerrilla fighters. Most of them are simply armed with light weapons and home made fire bombs. Their ranks are made up of Revolutionary Guards, Arab residents and left-wingers from the ???dayeen - groups which before the war would have been adversaries. Children take part in the fighting too, often beside their fathers.
But despite their bravery the defenders at Khorramshahr are questioning their leaders in Teherah. They want to know where their land forces are and why they aren't receiving heavy ammunition and artillery.
Observers say the slow suffocation of Khorramshahr and Abadan must logically lead to their surrender unless they are given assistance. But the Iranian Government is confident. Teheran Radio said on Thursday (16 October) that Iranian forces in Abadan had driven the Iraqis back ten kilometres (six miles).
The radio said it was still possible the Iraqis could enter the city and its oil refinery, but added that the townspeople were ready for street fighting. Iraqi troops outnumber their enemy by three or four to one. But as the war has continued, the civilian population has played a vital role particularly in holding up Iraqi armour in the streets of Khorramshahr and other towns. The Iranians claimed to have destroyed twenty tanks on Thursday night.
The Iraqis are continuing to pour more tanks into the front line. However, the terrain between Khorramshahr and Abadan is marshy. If the Iraqis are to use tanks in the battle for one of the world's largest oil refineries they will have to fight their way along the roads.
To take the city they will have 'to rout fervent followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini like these out of the shell shattered ruins.
Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Rajai has flown to the United States to present his country's side of the war to a meeting of the United Nations Security Council. President Carter has offered to meet him.