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The Iran-Iraq War was a war between the armed forces of Iraq and Iran lasting from September 1980 to August 1988. It was commonly called the Persian Gulf War until Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. The Iraq-Kuwait war, which the United States entered, later was called the Persian Gulf War or the Gulf War.
The war began when Iraq invaded Iran on 22 September 1980, after a long history of border disputes and demands for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime. Iraqi forces did well at the beginning of the war, but before long they were stopped and forced out of Iran. The war continued for years, and neither side gained much ground. Despite several calls for an end to the fighting by the United Nations Security Council, the two countries fought until 20 August 1988; the last prisoners of war were exchanged in 2003. The war changed politics in the Middle East and world wide.
The Iran-Iraq War is also noted for Iraq's use of chemical weapons and biological weapons against Iranian troops and civilians, many of which were supplied by the United States. The role of the United States in the war was very important. In 1953, the US launched a coup against Mohammed Mossadeq, who was the Prime Minister of Iran. The US put Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi back in power (he previously was in power, and later was allowed to reign but not to rule, like the Queen of England), supporting his military and his government. This triggered the Iranian Revolution in 1979, as the people of Iran were unhappy with the monarchy of the Shah. Later on (especially between 1983 and 1988) the United States sold weapons to the Iraqis. This move was largely due to America's interest in containing the revolutionary Ayatollah Khomeini. In summary, the United States supplied Iraq with weapons to use against Iran. 
- Chomsky, Noam. What We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2007. Namely, pages 58 – 59, which talk about US involvement in the war.