A U.N.-supervised cease-fire between Iran and Iraq took hold Saturday morning after hundreds of United Nations observers stood at position along the war front to monitor possible violations.
As the truce started at 7 a.m. (11 p.m. EDT), official media in the two countries carried no reports of any major incidents along the 730-mile front.Iraqis matched in the streets of Baghdad and in towns throughout their country the night before the truce took effect, celebrating what the official news media called Iraq's "victory" in the 8-year-old conflict.
Women dressed in abayas, the traditional Arab robes, sprinkled rose petals on the U.N. observers in blue berets as their convoy left Baghdad for the border, which begins in the southern marshlands and snakes north to the rugged mountains of Kurdistan.
Iran continued questioning Iraq's motives. Hashemi Rafsanjani, parliament speaker and military commander, said the Iraqis may not want peace but will find Iran much stronger if they renew the war.
Rear Adm. Mohammad Malekzadegan, the navy commander, said Iran will stop ships to search them for war materiel until a final peace agreement is reached. His comment was reported by Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency, monitored in Cyprus.
Iraq's general command exhorted all Arabs to "express joy and celebrate the victory achieved by Iraq's sons."
As night fell Friday, tens of thousands of people filled Baghdad's streets and public parks.
The government of President Saddam Hussein said it was reopening the airport in the battered southern port of Basra, which was the target of repeated Iranian offensives that took tens of thousands of lives.
Two Iraqi merchant ships would sail into the Persian Gulf, the first since early in the war.
About 150 unarmed officers of the U.N. Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group fanned out along the Iraqi side of the border Friday. Tehran radio, monitored in Cyprus, said 200 U.N. observers were either on their way to the Iranian side or there.
In New York, an official in the U.N. peacekeeping office said 95 percent of them "are on the ground, and we're receiving excellent cooperation from both sides."
The Security Council authorized 350 truce observers from 24 nations and about 950 support personnel for an initial period of six months at a cost of $75.6 million.
Brig. Gen. V.M. Patil of India heads the group of U.N. observers in Iraq and an Irish officer, name not announced, will head the group in Iran.
Nations supplying personnel to the observer corps are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ghana, Hungary, Indonesia, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Senegal, Sweden, Turkey, Yugoslavia and Zambia.