The Iranian Revolution of 1979 led to the removal of the Western-backed Shah and the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini. Since that time, the country has taken increasingly anti-Western positions, while imposing Islamic theocracy and emerging as the leading state sponsor of terrorism. During the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), hundreds of thousands were killed and several clashes occurred between the U.S. and Iranian naval fleets. Under a new supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, Iran successfully repressed anti-government protests following the 2009 presidential elections, which were widely derided as fraudulent. Iran emerged as a regional power in the wake of the U.S. led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The changed balance of power is one of the main drivers of instability in the region. Iran is currently under severe international sanctions for developing an illicit nuclear weapons program. The regime has sent financing and even personnel to preserve the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, who is currently fighting to maintain control of the country. Iran sponsors various terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Additionally, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is both a strategic decision maker and agent of the regime’s quest for regional hegemony.

  • Military EXHD
    2.5% of GDP
  • Fit for Service
  • GDP
    $387.6 Billion
  • Population

Iran Holds Air Force Drills to Display Defense Capabilities

Iranian forces launched air defense drills on Monday in the central province of Isfahan, Fars news agency reported, aiming to display its ability to safeguard the country’s airspace. The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Air Force (IRIAF) is holding the three-day maneuvers in which fighter bombers, reconnaissance aircraft and home-built drones will take part. The exercise […]


In Syria Crisis, Russia Expands Alliance With Iran, Increases Missile Presence

Russian officials intensified their rhetoric over the Syria crisis Thursday, saying Moscow was stepping up cooperation with Iran and boosting its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean. The Russian military said Thursday that a new small warship armed with cruise missiles will join Russian’s naval grouping off the coast of Syria in the coming days, […]


Iran Launches Production Line of Homegrown Ballistic Missile

Iran’s defense ministry on Sunday launched the production line of homegrown ballistic missile of “Zolfaqar,” Tasnim news agency reported. The tactical missile, which is capable of evading jamming signals in electronic warfare, will come into service by the end of the current Iranian year, in March 2017. Zolfaqar runs on solid fuel and can hit […]


7 Iranian Boats Harass Navy Ship in Gulf

Iranian fast boats have once again harassed an American ship in the Persian Gulf, forcing a U.S. Navy patrol boat to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision with one of the Iranian boats. American officials have labeled the Iranian actions in Sunday’s encounter involving the USS Firebolt as “unsafe and unprofessional.” It is the […]


Votel Warns Iran Against Provoking US Navy in Persian Gulf

An uptick in recent provocative behavior toward American military vessels by a faction of Iran’s naval forces could lead to an international incident in the Persian Gulf, Gen. Joseph Votel warned Tuesday. The U.S. Central Command chief blamed a hard-line group of Iranian naval commanders for the vast majority of recent “unsafe and unprofessional” incidents […]


Iranian-backed Houthis Fire a Shot at the U.S. Navy

While the United States was fixated on the second presidential debate on Sunday night, one of its ships was under fire in the Middle East. Details remain few, but reports suggest that the Houthis, a Yemeni militant group backed by Iran, fired two anti-ship missiles at the USS Mason as it patrolled the Bab el-Mandeb […]


Discerning Iran’s Role in Expanding Houthi Rocket Capabilities

Yemen’s Houthi rebels tested a new rocket last Thursday, marking the fourth new projectile they unveiled this year. Dubbed the Somoud, or “steadfastness,” the projectile’s launch was broadcast late last week across Arab and Iranian media. While observers were quick to point fingers at Tehran, based on its established track record of arming the Houthis, […]


Assessing the Latest Iranian Ballistic Missile: The Zulfiqar

Iran’s Armed Forces on Thursday concluded their celebration of “Sacred Defense Week” – the annual commemoration of the first week of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. The week featured military parades showcasing the latest in domestically produced weapons, chief among them ballistic missiles – of which Iran has the Middle East’s largest arsenal. This year, Tehran’s […]


Understanding Iran’s Deployment of the S-300 System

Iranian outlets this week reportedly revealed that components of Iran’s first Russian-made S-300 missile system were positioned around the Fordow fuel enrichment plant – an underground bunker which, until recently, was used for uranium enrichment. The long-range surface-to-air (SAM) system represents Iran’s newest and most advanced air-defense platform. Its deployment to Fordow sheds light on […]


The Mideast’s Precision Guided Arms Race

Precision guided munitions (PGMs) encompass a growing range of bombs and missiles designed to destroy targets on land, at sea, or in the air. While platforms like fighters, armored vehicles, and warships often receive more attention, their lethality is almost negligible if not bolstered by advanced munitions. With minor updates, today’s PGMs allow even older […]


Tracker: Israeli Strikes in Syria

As the Syrian Civil War rages, Israel has conducted a number of sporadic strikes inside the war-torn country.  These strikes are to enforce Israel’s so-called “red line” in Syria, which includes transfers of sophisticated weapon systems to Hezbollah in Lebanon and threats along its border. View the full screen map here.


Europe’s Missile Shield and Iran’s Capabilities

On December 18, the same week UN experts declared that Iran’s October test launch of a medium-range ballistic missile was a violation of this summer’s nuclear deal, Washington announced the completion of an advanced missile defense facility in Romania. It is designed, among other things, to defend Europe against Tehran’s increasing missile capabilities. The step […]


Off-Target: The Folly of Removing Sanctions on Iran’s Ballistic Missiles

UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which enshrines the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement, stipulates that restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missiles will expire eight years after the deal’s implementation. This expiration date is a strategic blunder. Permanent relief for ballistic missiles will allow Iran to not only reinforce its deterrent capacity, but to […]

Category Name

Active Armaments
On Order
Air Defense Systems 1,777* (4)

Aircraft 708* (25)

Artillery 3,901* (0)

Ground Vehicles 3,090* (0)

Guided Munitions 12,491* (120*)

Personnel 873,000 (0)

Ships 253* (7)