Iranian Armed Forces: strength and technical equipment


The specifics of religious influence in the state significantly affected various spheres of the political and public life of Iran. National features are not spared, and the Armed Forces of Iran. The country's army is considered the most numerous among other states of the Middle and Near East. The priceless military experience of the current militarized personnel was obtained during 8 years during the war with Iraq - from 1980 to 1988. Fundamental factors in creating a powerful defense base were the military-political independence of Iran, the economic potential and the uniqueness of religious national values.

Sunni and Shiite war

Due to the fact that the army was a direct participant in the Arab-Iranian conflict, a comparison of the armed forces of Iran and Saudi Arabia within the confrontation of the two branches of the Islamic faith is of some importance. The confrontation between the Sunnis and the Shiites clearly manifested itself in the above-mentioned war in the 80s of the 20th century. Political scientists, historians call this battle the largest in the modern history of the world after World War II. Speaking against Iranian Shiites, the Arabs actively used ballistic missiles and chemical weapons to civilians. More than 1 million people among civilians and those representing the armed forces of Iran and Saudi Arabia were recognized as dead.


In addition, Iraq benefited from the numerous support of neighboring Arab states. Iran did not forget about it.

Components of the Armed Forces of Iran

Iranian armed forces, the structure and organization of which is distinguished by the presence of two fundamental elements, are a powerful defense complex. The first is the permanent formation, traditional for world states, the regular army. The second is the so-called IRGC, the Corps of Guards of the Islamic Revolution. Both organizations have their own subsystem consisting of ground forces, a powerful fleet and combat aircraft. Each of them functions confidently both in wartime and in a peaceful period.

Among the components of the IRGC should emphasize the presence of a strategically important structure, whose tasks include providing the main headquarters with data obtained during reconnaissance and sabotage activities. In addition to these Special Forces, the Law Enforcement Force is also the Armed Forces. Iran especially needs the activities of specialized law enforcement agencies in wartime. During this period, they are managed by the General Staff of the Armed Forces.


Under the auspices of the IRGC, an additional unit of the national militia was created, called the “Islamic Army of 20 Millions, ” or the Resistance and Mobilization Forces.

Powers of the spiritual leader of the state

According to the main statutory legislative act of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Art. 110 states that the Supreme Commander is recognized as the spiritual leader of the state and the nation as a whole. In addition, this Constitution gave him the authority to manage and make major decisions of the military-political sphere of the republic. The main issues affecting the competence of the spiritual leader include:

  • Declaration of war, peace and the beginning of the mobilization of national scale.
  • The selection, appointment, removal and acceptance of the resignation of the leaders of individual units and components that are part of the Iranian Armed Forces: the command of the General Staff, the IRGC, SOP, etc.
  • Coordination, management and control over the work of the Supreme Council of National Security. This advisory body is the most important link in ensuring state security, defense, strategic and tactical planning of the work of the highest executive bodies in the respective sectors.

Supreme Council for National Security of Iran

The main objectives of the latter structure is the development of protective measures consistent with the policy of the spiritual leader, and the harmonization of the social, economic, informational and cultural aspects of government activities with the security interests of the state.

The Iranian armed forces are subordinate to the commander in chief directly through the General Staff. In turn, the latter serves as the administrative and operational administration apparatus not only when martial law is introduced in the country. The General Headquarters of the Armed Forces unites the leadership of the regular army and the Guard Corps, the DIS and decentralized local bodies of each of the listed units, which have their own purpose, composition and duties.


Iranian Ministry of Defense

The Ministry of Defense is not part of the Armed Forces of Iran. It is not directly related to the direct combat tasks of the troops. The mission of the central executive body is:

  • implementation of the construction of military facilities;
  • budgeting, intended only to finance the military industry;
  • control over the intended use of funds;
  • support for the domestic defense industry;
  • purchase and modernization of military equipment.

The number of troops and the number of military equipment

The total aggregate number of people belonging to the Armed Forces, Iran can proudly boast: the average figure is equal to 700 thousand. Other sources provide slightly different numbers: from 500 to 900 thousand troops. Moreover, representatives of the land forces make up about 80% of all troops. Behind them settled 100 thousand people involved in military aviation, then about 40 thousand soldiers represent the naval forces.

The inaccuracy of information is easily explained by their inaccessibility and secrecy in Iran. When the armed forces become interested in the world community, Iran tightly closes “information doors” in front of it. The main stream of data is promoted from unofficial sources; therefore, distortions in the personal combat personnel, armament and equipment lists can occur frequently.

As for military equipment, the Iranian Armed Forces also hold leadership positions among the countries of the Middle East: tanks, according to some data, comprise about 2, 000 units, about 2, 500 artillery pieces, about 900 MLRS, including Grad, Smerch, "Hurricane" and others. We can not say about 200 units of anti-ship missiles, 300 combat aircraft, 400 launchers of tactical and anti-aircraft missiles. This is not the whole list of equipment owned by the Armed Forces of Iran. BTR, BMP, self-propelled artillery, mortars - all of the above weapons inspire confidence in the power of the country.

Education and training of personnel and officers

Improving the qualifications of personnel is an issue often on the agenda of the leadership of the Armed Forces. Iran is currently taking serious steps in the education system of soldiers and military officers training. Comprehensive training and combat training, as observers note, contributes to the establishment of a mechanism for the interaction of all units and military units of various types of troops.


Particular attention in the educational process deserves discipline and training to work out the actions of each person liable for military service in conditions of guerrilla warfare, if an enemy possessing an ultra-modern tool is established throughout the territory of the state of occupation. Moreover, in the case of a military mismatch with the proper level of training after passing a military training course, this does not mean at all that it is not suitable for military service. Religious attitudes and moral-psychological trainings will be able to compensate for such “gaps”. In the future, these people will have the opportunity to participate and organize psychological operations of the Armed Forces of Iran.

The purpose of the IRGC

Considering the Armed Forces of Iran, it is necessary to elaborate on one of their elements. Interestingly, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was originally created as a non-permanent formation in order to ensure domestic law and order. Formed over 30 years ago, the IRGC was completely separated from the army and had nothing to do with it, including the management system. However, at the very beginning of the war between Iran and Iraq, the enormous potential and multifunctional capabilities of the corps were revealed. In view of his predominance over the regular army in military, political and power capabilities, the leadership of the Iranian state prepared for the corps a major role in the system of the Armed Forces. For several years of the postwar period, the complicated process of an unhurried, but stable connection of the two fundamental structures of the militarized sphere of the state lasted. At the same time, the Ministry of Defense, the General Staff, was also formed for the corps and the army. Definitely, the Armed Forces of Iran today have a complex apparatus and a successfully functioning system of the Guard Corps, in many ways surpassing that of the regular state army.


Some time after the appointment of a follower of the IRGC to the post of head of the Islamic Republic of Iran, rumors arose about the likely merger of the two main components of the country's military system, while the supremacy would most likely be given to the corps.

Iranian nuclear weapons program

Since Iran is a nuclear state, rockets and the likelihood of their use is one of the main questions of the entire world community. Iran is able to repel the unpopular for it military decisions of the United States and Israel in relation to the state’s nuclear program.

Specialists who analyze aspects of the armaments of the countries of the East believe that rocket weapons for Iran are the most important element in the manipulation and control of potential adversaries. By threatening the use of missiles with nuclear warheads, the state is able to maintain supremacy in any given situation. It is not surprising that funding aimed at supporting and developing missile programs occupies a significant share of the entire military budget. For example, in the early 90s, after the war, the state had many gaps in the socio-economic aspects of its livelihoods. At the same time, the emphasis was already placed on optimizing this industry: the number of operational-tactical missiles significantly exceeded the number of such weapons in neighboring eastern states.

Features of the formation of weapons in Iran

In addition, walking along the “nuclear” path, Iran was faced with a multitude of seemingly insurmountable difficulties. The country has not developed a research component, which includes scientific traditions, specialized training, and many years of experience. To create innovative weapons, thus, it was simply impossible. It could not be in line with the most complex achievements of Russians, Americans or developers of Western Europe. That is why the military-industrial complex of Iran is based on the method of borrowing foreign samples for the reproduction of weapons in the country.


It follows that the priority in design work and scientific research is the cloning of imported weapons, and more often is the passage of modernization to meet Iranian needs. Examples of material are Chinese, North Korean, Pakistani, American and Russian military products. This has been repeatedly confirmed by weapons specialists. Iranian weapons, which are being presented and shown for the first time, were immediately criticized by well-known military experts. Probably, “sources for inspiration” Iran finds by various methods: from illegal procurement schemes to the obtained intelligence. In addition, agreements on military-technical cooperation, signed bilaterally, are of no small importance.

The presence of significant difficulties did not prevent the top leadership of the country to create a military research base and armed forces. Iran currently has a sufficient number of research institutes, research laboratories, design institutions. The created military infrastructure serves as a place for the development of new models of various military equipment.

Iranian Missile Forces

Despite the fact that many variants of rocket systems are found by Iranian developers so far only in the long run, existing analogs in the next decade have great chances of obtaining an important basis for creating ballistic missiles with an average range at the initial stage. Achieving such significant results will allow you to get closer to the creation of intercontinental ballistic missiles. But for now these are only plans. Today, Iran has modest missile equipment, and a properly thought-out strategy.

Several rocket brigades and their central command are subordinated to the spiritual leader - the Supreme Commander:

  • Shahab-3D and Shahab-3M have an approximate firing range of 1, 300 km. 32 launchers are attached to them.
  • Shahab-1 and Shahab-2 have a range of up to 700 km and 64 launchers.
  • Tactical missiles.

Rocket launching process

The rocket troops of the Armed Forces of the Iranian state use, as a rule, mobile installations for launching rockets. This fact has a positive effect on their functioning. On the main territorial part of Iran are located rocket-technical bases corresponding to the positioning of the regions. In each of them there are warehouses, fuel and lubricant resources, aviation fuel, a communication system is developed, it has its own infrastructure.

The rocket complexes taking the order of duty regularly change their actual location. Launchers mainly mask under mediocre trucks, which are accompanied by two also disguised machines. Each of the latter secretly transports two missile warheads. The moving process often takes place near mobile gas stations.


Trying to predict the development of the geopolitical scenario, one should take into account the current situation around Iran. The state’s readiness for confrontation is determined by the state of its armed forces, which has a significant impact on the development of global processes.

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