The eight-year Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) profoundly shaped postrevolutionary Iranian society. In the early years, the war united different dominant political factions and contributed to the solidification of the Islamic Republic. Its subsequent legacy, the “blood of martyrs” and hundreds of thousands of war veterans, however, has long been a point of contention between competing political elites. The photographs in this section—the hidden faces of the “martyrs” and of those who mourn them—and the reflection of life and light at the gravesites depict the continuing significance of the war in present day Iran. Melissa Hibbard and Hamid Rahmanian took the accompanying photos in Behesht-e Zahra (Zahra's Paradise), Tehran's gargantuan cemetery.

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