On 9 September 1980, Iraqi forces invaded Iran with the goal of seizing disputed territory along the Iran-Iraq border near the Arand-Rud River. The Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, hoped to take advantage of the newly established Iranian regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini. The Iraqi forces advanced over 30 miles (48 kilometres) into Iran before Iranian forces mounted a determined counteroffensive. For the next eight years, the two nations waged a war of unbridled ferocity.
Iran had initially rejected a United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution to end hostilities in 1987, but, in July 1988, the Iranian government indicated that it was prepared to accept the UN proposal. The UN Security Council established the UN Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG), and Canada agreed to send 15 military observers and the 88th Canadian Signal Squadron with 170 signal and support vehicles. The first Canadian troops arrived on 15 August 1988. UNIIMOG supervised the ceasefire and monitored the withdrawal of Iranian and Iraqi forces.