Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences

Document Type: Review Article


Medical Toxicology Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Chemical warfare agents are the most brutal weapons among the weapons of mass destruction. Sulfur mustard (SM) is a potent toxic alkylating agent known as “the King of the Battle Gases”. SM has been the most widely used chemical weapon during the wars. It was widely used in World War I. Thereafter, it was extensively employed by the Iraqi troops against the Iranian military personnel and even civilians in the border cities of Iran and Iraq in the period between 1983 and 1988. Long-term incapacitating properties, significant environmental persistence, lack of an effective antidote, and relative ease of manufacturing have kept SM a potential agent for both terrorist and military uses. Even 3 decades after SM exposure, numerous delayed complications among Iranian victims are still being reported by researchers. The most common delayed complications have been observed in the respiratory tracts of chemically injured Iranian war veterans. Also, skin lesions and eye disorders have been observed in most Iranian SM-exposed war veterans in the delayed phase of SM intoxication. Thus, extensive research has been conducted on Iranian war veterans during the past decades. Nevertheless, major gaps still continue to exist in the SM literature. Part І of this paper will discuss the delayed complications and manifestations of exposure to SM among Iranian victims of the Iran–Iraq conflict. Part ІІ, which will appear in the next issue of Iran J Med Sci, will discuss the long-term management and therapy of SM-exposed patients.