The repatriation of more than 1,500 disabled Iranian and Iraqi prisoners of war began Thursday when a plane carrying 52 Iraqi prisoners of war left Tehran, Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

The agency, monitored in Nicosia, said the group, which included three officers, left for Baghdad, Iraq, after International Committee for the Red Cross officials finished medical examinations.It said 41 Iranian POWs were expected to arrive in the Iranian capital later in the day.

The Red Cross-chartered plane will shuttle between Tehran and Baghdad for the next 10 days to repatriate up to 1,115 Iraqis and 411 Iranians, all sick or wounded, according to a memorandum of understanding Iraq and Iran signed with the Red Cross.