It looks like summer camp with the bonfires, the obstacle courses, the young children running around the park grounds; except its jihadi training set up by Iran’s regime to prepare young children for the “conquering of Tel Aviv.”
New alarming images are emerging from Iran’s ‘Sixth National Children’s Memorial,’ in which children appearing to be as young as 6 are holding weapons and dressed in military apparel.
The gathering, held in a park in the country’s southern Fars province in the county of Lamerd, called for the “conquering of Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” with a set goal to disseminate “holy defense values.”
About 1,200 children participated, running through obstacle courses to prepare them, physically and ideologically, for holy war.
The photos are chilling; of children attempting to climb, jump and scale their way through the virtual war field set up in a camp ground setting.
All throughout the images, there are U.S. and Israeli flags. There is a photo of a child standing next to a fire, preparing to burn an Israeli flag while others work on their target practice.
“According to the teachings of the Quran and Islamic tradition, whatever is planted within a child’s heart will be manifested,” an officer said.
“Children are our investment and the future of our country. We should not fill their minds with hatred and violence,” Deutsche Welle journalist Mahmoud Salehi commented.
“Do these images portray the future of our country?” he added.
In 2010, Iran was signatory to an international protocol of the Convention on the Rights of Children which banned the involvement of children in armed conflict, but the indoctrination and physical training of children has been continuing in schools and more formally at training camps such as this one.
The use of child soldiers is nothing new for Iran’s government who began using child soldiers as soon as they replaced the Shah in Iran’s 1979 Revolution, sacrificing more than 100,000 young children in the Iran Iraq War, that lasted from 1980 to 1988.
More recently, Iran’s government, now propping up the Houthi rebels in Yemen, has also made use of child soldiers there, often luring boys as young as 5 or 6 away from their families in exchange for money, food and basic supplies.
This is the same strategy used by the Islamic State, who has developed a model of using all members of the Caliphate in different aspects of Jihad.
Young children often appear in ISIS propaganda videos and with even more frequency, are along the backdrops, witnessing the barbaric beheadings, crucifixions and executions.