Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran

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The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran are numerically the largest and arguably the most powerful in the Middle East. These forces total about 650,000 active personnel (not including the Law Enforcement Force) plus 1,050,000 reserve and trained personnel that could be mobilized when needed. That makes a total of 2,010,000 military personnel that Iran could mobilize.


  • Iran has little capability to project conventional forces across the Gulf beyond firing missiles and sending drones. But if U.S. air and naval forces were ever withdrawn and the Iranians were able to put a large land force on the southern side of the Gulf, that would pose a major challenge...
  • Unlike many who have a finger in the world of national security, I've never found Iran to be strategically threatening. Iran's army is designed to oppress its own population, not march on its neighbors. Its air force hasn't been updated since the fall of the shah in 1979, and the Iranians are running out of jets to fall out of the sky. It's navy…well, it doesn't have a navy. It has a bunch of speedboats.