The 65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade (abbreviated as Nohad), known as the Green Hat of the Iranian Army, is one of the seven commando units of the Iranian Army and one of the best special forces in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was renamed the 65th Brigade in 1992.
“…publishing news regularly and systematically in order to help the country’s foreign policy and increase its credibility and gain sympathy and support, including psychological warfare with long-term goals.”
The main mission of this type of warfare is more unequivocally defined. The location of this brigade in Afsariyeh, east of Tehran, dominates the eastern route of Semnan road and the northeastern route of the northern road.
The personnel of this brigade are selected from the personnel of the former 23rd Division. These people are able to carry out special operations inside and outside Iran by undergoing special and specialized training during their service. In fact, this brigade was established in 1349 under the name of 23rd Airborne Special Forces Brigade by Major General Manouchehr Khosrudad.
Nowadays, the NohEd Brigade is one of the best military forces in the world and won third place in the 2014 Mountain Race in Russia.
In the urban conquest maneuver in Tehran, some commandos of the 65th Brigade, in order to penetrate and capture the set goals, used the clerical uniforms, the employees of that organization and the hardworking employees of the municipality, which was a new initiative in its kind.
Perhaps it was unbelievable that in our first contact with the commander of one of the world’s most powerful special forces, we could arrange an interview with him; A very “nice” person and, of course, a sense of humor; A man who, if you can find an opportunity to converse with him in the midst of his various preoccupations and special missions, will clearly be able to understand the concept of “Ashda ‘Ali al-Kufar and Rahma Binham.”
In the morning, one of the last days of summer, we go to a brigade that is very famous. Many believe that the members of this brigade are among the best special commandos in the world; Courageous men who, not so long ago, created many honors in the resistance of Sardasht and Khorramshahr, and perhaps the only surviving witness to the heroism of that time, the “green hats” and “fringes” on the chest and arm of the 65th Brigade Commandos.
We arrive at the 65th Brigade’s location with a slight delay; A tall building with a large inscription “Sky Eagle’s Nest” on it; Sentences that, with the special logo of this special commando brigade, strangely dazzle the look and increase the angle of your neck along the road by moving the car; We enter through the big door of the fort; In every corner, a number of people are running and doing sports; We go to the brigade command office and, despite our imagination, find the eighth commander of this brigade with a different skill in a corner of the barracks; He greets her warmly and, with the way she shakes hands, clearly shows off her physical ability and fitness; A 50-year-old man who jokes about his training with a joke challenges the imagination of a military commander and the connection of a high-ranking commander with his forces.
In the 1960s, the United States sent four operational detachments of Army Special Forces operators to Iran to train the Shah’s Imperial military forces. The Mobile Training Teams spent two years as Military Assistance Advisory Group Iran. Before they could even get to Iran, the soldiers had to pass the Special Forces Officer course at Fort Bragg, then learn Farsi at the Monterey, Calif. Defense Language Institute. Only then would they be shipped to Iran to train Iranian Special Forces.
It’s been a long time since the 65th was a part of the Imperial Iranian Special Forces. Now called 65th NOHED Brigade (which is just a Farsi acronym for “airborne special forces”), the unit’s mission is very similar to the ones the U.S. Special Forces trained them for in the 1960s. They perform hostage rescue, psychological operations, irregular warfare, and train for counter-terrorism missions both in and outside of the Islamic Republic.
Inside the Iranian military, the unit is known as the “powerful ghosts.” The nickname stems from a mission given to the 65th in the mid-1990s. They were tasked to take buildings around Tehran from the regular military – and were able to do it in under two hours.
Since their initial standup with U.S. Special Forces, Iran’s 65th Airborne Special Force Brigade survived the 1979 Iranian Revolution, then they survived the brutal Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, and now advise the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as they fight for the Iran-dominated Assad regime in Syria against a fractured rebellion.
The legacy of the harsh but thorough training with American Green Berets continues in Iran. The current training includes endurance and survival in desert, jungle, and mountain warfare, among other schools, like parachute and freefall training, just like their erstwhile American allies taught so long ago.
We go to Amir Khosravi’s office; An office of about 30 square meters, in each corner of which is a championship cup in one of the sports – from parachuting to skiing – and what attracts the most attention are the 7 photo frames that are installed on the chest of the wall in front of you. The picture shows the 7 previous commanders of this brigade.
Talking to Amir “Khosrow Khosravi” opens the door and in the middle of this conversation, despite Amir’s silence on some issues that may be talked about one day, the conversations are also drawn to issues that have not been exposed so far. ; Facts and adventures that have been less addressed in the last 20, 30 years, despite their importance; Issues such as the controversial urban maneuver of the 65th Brigade in the early 1960s and 1970s in Tehran and the capture of 1 hour and a half of its designated targets in the capital.
Amir, you are the eighth commander of one of the most powerful special forces in Iran, the region and the world; Tell us a little bit about your background and the formation of this brigade.
Amir Khosravi: I was born in 1339 and I joined the army of the Islamic Republic of Iran when I joined the officer’s college in 1981. Since 1989, I have succeeded in serving our beloved country as the eighth commander of the 65th Brigade. I do.
Regarding the formation of this brigade, the issue dates back to the beginning of 1332, when 10 military personnel of the Air Force and Army were sent to France and passed the first parachuting training and formed the first parachuting unit in Iran. This unit was upgraded to a parachuting battalion in 1338. In 1349, the name of this brigade was changed to 23rd Airborne Special Forces Brigade. In the 1950s, due to need, two more units, the Hostage Liberation Squadron and the Psychological Operation Regiment, were added to the 23rd Brigade’s structure, consisting of three units, the Hostage Liberation Unit, the Irregular Warfare and the Operation Operation. Psychology and Support Unit.
However, in the early 1960s, when the imposed war continued, the Army Special Forces Brigade, with the presence of conscripts, became the 23rd Ranger Division, and in 1991, the 65th Brigade with three battalions consisting of hostage rescue units, psychological operations and Support, in addition to the School of Irregular Warfare and ICT, again became independent and separated from the 23rd Division.
What is the role of the psychological operations unit in this brigade?
Amir Khosravi: Psychological warfare is the use of any means and methods to influence the morale and behavior of a group in order to achieve a possible military goal. In other words, psychological warfare can be defined as the imposition of one’s will on the enemy in ways other than military means and by means other than economic means that achieving the goals of this war can occur in a short or long period of time; These include strategic advertising, battle advertising, news broadcasting, deceiving the enemy in an organized manner, as well as confidential advertising; Also, publishing news regularly and systematically in order to help the country’s foreign policy and increase its credibility and gain sympathy and support, including psychological warfare with long-term goals.
In general, before and after the operation, this unit has the task of weakening the morale of hostile forces and strengthening the morale of its own forces, and in various categories with the tools and facilities at its disposal, this psychological warfare is an important issue in our missions. Is paying.
The Iranian Special Forces are among the top five special forces in the world.
In some divisions, the “Special Forces” of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who are serving as the Nineteenth Brigade, have been identified as one of the top ten special forces in the world. Can this claim be made?
Amir Khosravi: Continuous and up-to-date training in techniques and tactics is one of the main pillars of all combat and military units in the world; However, the importance of this issue in the special forces in each country is twofold, and the special forces must, in addition to continuous and sometimes exhausting training, be informed of the latest techniques, tactics and military techniques of other countries and adapt to these global developments. In order to get acquainted with these techniques and techniques, to achieve them. Therefore, in addition to our emphasis on promoting physical and physical ability, we also pay special attention to the promotion of the spirit of faith and the use of the latest technologies.
On the other hand, there should be joint exercises and maneuvers with different countries to rank the world’s special forces, but in general, with today’s capabilities, I can claim that the 65th Brigade is among the top 5 special forces in the world, and we have tried to limit sanctions and restrictions. For our country, relying on self-sufficiency and improving individual morale and capabilities, we can cover some of the existing technical weaknesses.
Of course, these sanctions have led to more self-sufficiency and self-sufficiency in the production of equipment required by domestic experts, and today we have been able to produce very fast umbrellas and many other equipment we need inside; Even when Colonel Payandeh and his team jumped from Milad Tower, they jumped using handmade umbrellas, which they managed to create with personal creativity, and today we are able to use automatic umbrellas, free fall and other types of umbrellas we need. To produce inside.
Explain a little bit about the type of training that special forces see during their various courses.
AmirKhosravi: First of all, all the forces that enter the 65th Brigade from the officer’s college or the army’s rank centers must learn the basic parachute course with automatic parachute; After passing this course, they have to spend a special period of 6 months in the sea, mountains and forests, desert and snow, which after obtaining the necessary points and completing this course, has become part of our Payvar force and to various units of the 65th Special Forces. They are introduced and go through other specialized courses, such as free fall courses, paragliding flights, paramotors, and so on.
Also, in the “Special Forces” course, efforts are made to test the forces mentally and physically with intensive training and to the extent that they are difficult, and to improve their special mental and physical abilities for difficult operational conditions. In the course of this course, special trainings such as special orientation, special destruction, special telecommunications and working with many strategic weapons will be given to these people so that they can achieve their predetermined goals in any operational situation and with the least facilities and The raw materials at their disposal destroy or capture the target.
Amir, in the early days of the war and in the initial turmoil after the revolution, was one of the most influential forces on the battlefield in Iraq, taking valuable steps by engaging in guerrilla warfare, the former 23rd Brigade and the effective presence of its Green Hat commandos. Was.
Amir Khosravi: Yes. At that time, with the presence of Dr. Chamran in the war zones, some of the main members of the irregular wars were children of the former 23rd Special Forces, who along with Martyr Chamran, formed the irregular war headquarters and according to the training they had seen due to their characteristics. The special forces, which have no dependence on the ground, were highly skilled in guerrilla warfare and were able to inflict fatal blows on the enemy with a small number of people and quickly move away.
Kanigmanga; A film that was released on the screens of the country’s cinema for 15 years
Air’s military green hats during the holy war and its overseas operations were so bizarre and unimaginable that several films such as “Kanimanga” and “Green Lions” were made that were released for years and even Kanimanga’s film was able to do so in 15 years. Presence on the screens of Iranian cinemas is the record for the longest screening in the country. In general, how were the tasks of the army’s green helmet commanders drawn in the imposed war?
Ami Khosravi: Of course, both Kanigmanga and Shiran Sabz were based on the actual operations of the 23rd Division’s Green Hats in Iraq. For example, the script of Shiran Sabz was based on a real operation in 1964 in the northern regions. The operation was carried out in the west of the country, where several commanders of the army’s green helmet were sent to destroy a base in Iraq.
Duing the eight years of the holy defense, Sardasht’s responsibility in the northwest of the country was given to the special forces of Nohad, and I can boldly claim that this unit performed the best performance among other military units in the country during the war, so that the enemy could not Even an inch of soil took over that spot; Of course, the enemy carried out heavy raids in this area, such as the famous chemical attack on Sardasht, but our forces quickly repulsed them, and the enemy was never able to settle in the area.
Operation Qader was also one of the operations in which the special forces of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran participated, and Martyr Abshnasan was martyred as the commander of the 23rd Division.
Therefore, the 23rd Division and the special forces of the army were also successful during the war, and they recorded one of the most brilliant performances in their record, and they dedicated many martyrs to our Islamic homeland during the 8 years of holy defense.
After the end of the war and according to the needs of the country, the IRGC and the police also formed special units and units; Special units, whose training was generally derived from the training of 65th Brigade Commandos, are there any interactions between these special forces in the army, the IRGC and the police?
Amir Khosravi: It is also the case that the late Gholam Khalili was one of the best special forces in the army, who, along with a number of other special forces of the Noah’s Special Forces, held the main and primary courses of the special forces for a number of talented Revolutionary Guards. He was a former member of the 23rd Division, and he conveyed to them that, thank God, these forces still have a very strong role to play in carrying out their missions.
How Tehran was captured in an hour and a half / Sayad Shirazi’s role in capturing Tehran for an hour and a half
One of the most exceptional operations and missions carried out by the army’s green hats was Tehran’s urban maneuver in the early 1960s and 1970s, which provoked mixed reactions. Talk about it.
Amir Khosravi: At that time, the great martyr Sayyad Shirazi, considering the sensitive missions of the special forces and mainly the foreign forces of the 65th Brigade, proposed to hold an urban maneuver to determine the results of the new training of this brigade and the ability of the special forces of this brigade. He had not participated in any exercises since the end of the war, to be tested. Therefore, in 1371, according to the measures of Martyr Sayyad Shirazi, several points in Tehran were determined as the objectives of this maneuver and the special forces of this brigade were obliged to achieve the pre-determined objectives in Tehran at any time without having any weapons. Capture a specific.
The targets, such as some police stations, checkpoints, a number of offices, some barracks, and even the Radio and Television Organization at the time, which were among the predetermined targets, were chosen to be both highly sensitive and sensitive. In some cases, it may seem impossible to enter them; While in this maneuver, the city forces were obliged to protect these neighborhoods against any hostile forces during the maneuver, which fortunately the special forces of the 65th Brigade succeeded in achieving the predetermined goals in time. Occupy less than the allotted time. One of the strengths of the 65th Brigade’s special forces in this maneuver was the special training designed for them by Martyr Sayyad Shirazi and other commanders of this brigade, and these special forces for any influence, destroying and capturing their targets in external operations. They benefited from it; Trainings during which the special forces of this brigade, with the indigenous clothing of each region and with its special dialect and language, approach and penetrate their desired goals in a cover of local forces.
Were you in the 65th Brigade at the time?
Amir Khosravi: No, at that time I was in the 23rd Ranger Division, but I know how to hold this maneuver; About two battalions of the army’s special forces were present in the maneuver, which was scheduled to take place in two hours. The first target was captured in less than an hour, and the entire maneuver was carried out on time.
In the meantime, some of the 65th Brigade’s commandos, in order to infiltrate and capture the designated targets, used the uniforms of the clergy, the organization’s staff, and the hard-working staff of the municipality, which was a new initiative of its kind. (Laughter)
Of course, holding this maneuver, in addition to the extra morale that he injected into the 65th Brigade’s Special Forces, made it part of the defense’s problems that allowed our Special Forces to achieve their goals using them. Be.
You said that the design and proposal of holding this maneuver was with Shahid Sayad, were they satisfied with the result of this maneuver?
Amir Khosravi: Of course they were satisfied, I remember at that time and after holding this maneuver, the military commanders of the country, despite some excuses of some people, showed a very good reaction to the strong performance of the 65th Brigade and this maneuver to the commander’s command. At the time of the brigade, Colonel Fahimi Saleh was executed.
Currently, the 65th Brigade does not have a plan to use the capabilities of the veterans of this brigade, which are valuable assets for our army and system.
Amir Khosravi: Thank God, the connection between the new generation of the 65th Brigade and the previous generation has been maintained, and the veteran professors of the 65th Brigade meet twice a year; On the one hand, these circles promote the morale of the forces of today’s brigade, and on the other hand, they increase the empathy between the old and the new generation. Even a few months ago, the veteran veterans of the brigade were present at the parachute competition, and on the sidelines of the competition, a number of veterans who may not have jumped with an umbrella for 10 to 20 years jumped, which was a very beautiful scene.
But the final word of the eighth commander of the green hats of the army of the Islamic Republic of Iran …
Amir Khosravi: May God have mercy on Imam Khomeini; At a time when some people were whispering about the dissolution of the army at the beginning of the revolution, he said that the armies are the children of this revolution and that the army should remain in its place; The army that fought fiercely during the 8 years of the holy defense and sacrificed many young people to this revolution, the system and the country, and was able to be a strong barrier against the chariots of Iraq.
On the other hand, during the post-revolutionary years, we have witnessed that arrogance and Western countries, with the support of Iraq in the war against Iran, sought to overthrow this system, and by failing in 8 years of war, pursue this goal by resorting to sanctions. These days, with other literature, they are making choices on their desks. Therefore, they intend to challenge the Islamic Republic system at any time possible, but today we see that the United States and Israel, despite all the bluffs that are blowing the whistle on all options, do not dare to attack Iran. They did not, because during the 8 years of holy defense, when the Islamic Republic of Iran was at the beginning of its path, they experienced the result of confrontation with Islamic Iran and despite the full support of weapons and politics from Iraq, they experienced defeat.
During the Dhofar Rebellion in Oman, the unit, which was being called 23rd Airborne Special Forces Brigade, was one of the Iranian units participated in the war. It was stationed at the Mantson Dhofar military base in Oman.
The brigade is reported to be involved in the Vietnam War as well, but this has not been officially confirmed. According to Brig. Gen. Alireza Sanjabi, most of the training of the brigade was conducted through joint operations with the British SAS. According to an Al-Monitor article, he shared a story before his death about him operating as a sniper in the war.
After the 1979 Revolution, the brigade participated in various clashes in provinces of Khuzestan, Sistan-o-Baluchestan (fighting drug trafficking and terrorism), and Kordestan (fighting PJAK and Komalah).
NOHAD members operating a machine gun in snowy highlands of Kordestan during Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s
When Iraq invaded Iran, the brigade, which was 23rd Airborne Special Forces Brigade back then and later turned into 23rd Division, was stationed in southern and north western regions. They participated in various operations, including Breaking of the Siege of Abadan, Operation Beit ol-Moqaddas, Operation Karbala-5, and Operation Qader. The brigade was active in strategic mountains of Dopaza and Laklak in Sardasht, which Iraq, despite conducting chemical attacks in the area, never managed to capture the area during the eight-year war. Some personnel of the brigade were involved in special operations under direct command of Defense Minister Mostafa Chamran, who founded the Irregular Warfare Headquarters.
In the 1990s, there was a mock military operation in Tehran, planned by Army’s commander Ali Sayyad Shirazi, where two battalions from the 65th Brigade were asked to infiltrate and take hold of specific important military and political centers in the capital city. The mission was accomplished in less than two hours. Ever since, the unit’s members have been known as the “Powerful Ghosts”.
Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessments reported that the 23rd Special Forces Division is amongst the most professional formations in the Iranian Army, with 5,000 personnel, all of whom are believed to be regulars.
There have been unconfirmed reports of members of the 65th Brigade conducting reconnaissance operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
On April 4, 2016, it was announced that the 65th Brigade is already in Syria to support the government in regards to the Syrian Civil War, where two have been reportedly killed in action against al-Nusra Front: Second Lieutenant Mohsen Ghitaslou and Second Lieutenant Mojtaba Yadollahi Monfared. Jerusalem Post, citing unofficial Syrian sources, reported that as of 13 April 2016 the unit has lost 30 soldiers during operations in Syria, but this is not confirmed.
One of the training camps is located in jungles of Kelardasht, in which jungle warfare is trained during spring. The winter training camp is in Emamzadeh Hashem, in which there is a ski resort dedicated to the brigade, used for training snow warfare. The summer camp is located at Karaj Dam. Another camp is located in the desert of Qom, in which desert warfare is trained.
The Hostage Rescue Unit of the 65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade, training a hostage rescue mission
The Hostage Rescue Unit is one of the units of the brigade, which has its own base in Mehrabad International Airport. It is also known as Unit-110. According to the brigade commander Khosravi, the hostage rescue forces of the brigade are “our most elite forces”. This unit cooperates with security organizations.
The unit has a special insignia.
NOHED Insignia and Badges
Equipment and insignia
They are recognizable due to their use of safariflage DPM pattern camouflage. They wear a tactical vest and a green beret. The patch of the 65th is a dagger and golden wing superimposed over a green parachute with an Achaemenid-style shield on its background and is located on the left shoulder. The MPT-9S (Iranian-built collapsible stock variant of MP5) is their standard weapon, replacing the older Uzi.
In popular culture
The Crystal Simorgh-winning movie Kani-Manga (کانی مانگا), directed by Seyfollah Dad in 1987, and the movie Green Lions (شیران سبز) are both inspired by real world operations conducted by the 65th Brigade during the Iran–Iraq War.