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This is how powerful Iran is militarily

This is how powerful Iran is militarily

Nerves are now tense in the Middle East. The military confrontation between Iran and Israel is unclear, and if Israel responds to Iranian missile and drone attacks, what can Iran respond with?

What are Iran's military capabilities and what are the capabilities of its armed forces?

– There is a reason not to attack Iran. It is not that Iran's opponents fear Iran. “They realize that any war against Iran is a very dangerous war,” said Avshon Ostovar, a professor of national security issues at the Naval Postgraduate School. New York times.

It is one thing that Iran itself can do, and another thing that Iran's network of friendly militias can inflict military devastation on Israel.

KILLED: Protesters in Tehran hold banners showing dead military leaders, including a top general in the IRGC's Quds Force, Mohammad Reza Zahedi (center). Photo: Abdeen Taher Kanara/EPA/NTB

Long-Range Missile: This is the Sayyad-3 missile deployed by the Iranian army in February this year. This missile can reach most places in the Middle East. Photo: Agence France-Presse

Missiles and drones

Iran has one of the largest arsenals of ballistic missiles and drones in the Middle East, according to a New York Times review. It includes cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles, in addition to ballistic missiles with a range of up to 2,000 kilometers. These missiles have the ability and range to hit any target in the Middle East, including Israel.

In recent years, Iran has amassed a large stock of drones that have a range of up to 2,500 kilometers and are capable of flying at low altitude to avoid radar, according to experts. Iran did not hide its military buildup, displaying an array of drones and missiles during military parades.

Old planes: Some of the fighters in the Iranian Air Force include the US-made F4 Phantoms, which are 40-50 year old planes that were sold to Iran before the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Photo: AP/NTB

Old fighter planes and tanks

The Iranian army is considered one of the strongest armies in the region in terms of equipment, cohesion, experience, and quality of personnel, but it lags far behind the strength of the advanced armed forces of the United States, Israel, and European countries.

Iran's greatest weakness is its air power. Much of the country's combat aircraft date back to the days of the Shah, which ended in 1979. Many aircraft have been idled due to a lack of spare parts. Iran also owns some aircraft that it purchased from Russia in the 1990s, according to the New York Times.

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Iranian tanks and armored vehicles are old, and the country has only a few large naval vessels. Two intelligence ships, Saviz and Behshed, deployed in the Red Sea, assisted in this Houthi militia US officials said that the United States had identified Israeli-owned ships for attack.

Missile Ship: This Iranian Revolutionary Guard warship stationed in the Gulf of Oman can launch long-range missiles. Photo: Agence France-Presse

A large army and militias

The Iranian Armed Forces consist of 580,000 active personnel and about 200,000 reserve personnel, divided between the traditional army and the Revolutionary Guard, according to statistics. appreciation By the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Additionally, and at least as important, the Al-Quds Unit, an elite unit of the Revolutionary Guard, is responsible for arming, training, and supporting the militia network throughout the Middle East. According to the New York Times, this includes Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, militia groups in Syria and Iraq, and Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

Specifically, the friendly militias – which are not part of the Iranian armed forces, but are regional forces allied with them – are combat-ready, heavily armed, and ideologically loyal. They will come to Iran's rescue and play an important role.

Houthi missiles: The photo shows missiles belonging to the Houthi militia displayed in an unknown location in Yemen. Photo: Reuters/NTB

-There is no invasion imminent

An Israeli attack on Iran would be a nightmare scenario, not only for Iran, but for the entire region and stability in the Middle East.

But Dag Henrik Tostad, senior lecturer in Middle Eastern studies at UiO, doesn't think that will happen.

We do not face an imminent Israeli invasion of Iran. But if there is a second phase of the confrontation, Iran will respond to any attack from Israel, but then with the help of its affiliated militias, especially Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen, he said.

He confirms that the potential attack will not be carried out by ground forces. There are no borders between Iran and Israel and no Arab country in the region wants to be drawn into war by either side.

– It is important to know that Iran is not allied with Arab countries, with the exception of Syria. But he says that all other countries in the region hate Iran.

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No Arab country, such as Jordan and Lebanon, will allow flights over its territory and closed its airspace on Sunday night.

– They will not allow drones or aircraft from Iran or Israel to pass.

– Huge quantities of missiles

But Iran is allied with the Axis of Resistance, which consists of combat-ready militias on the border with Israel, according to Tostad.

Hezbollah in particular poses a major threat.

There are huge quantities, perhaps hundreds of thousands of missiles, with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. He says they are the biggest factor in any potential Iranian attack.

This will strongly affect whether Israel will attack or not.

– A possible Hezbollah attack is the greatest deterrent for Israel since Tostad.

Senior Lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies at UiO
<-Senior Lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies at UiO

Dai Henrik Tostad

UiO researcher believes that the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus was a paradigm shift for Iran. With the killing of the seven military leaders, a new situation arose.

– Now Iran must follow up on the possible Israeli counterattack, especially if it occurs on Iranian territory.

It is believed that Israel will gain nothing from attacking Iran.

The attack on Iranian territory is a military attack in which Hezbollah is likely to participate. That's why I don't think Israel will attack, because the consequences would be very devastating.

– Very devastating

– In what way?

– Because the ability of Hezbollah, especially Hezbollah, to destroy and spread death and destruction in Israel is on a scale that Israel has never faced before, Tostad says.

– So it is not certain that Israel will respond?

– No, they do not have to do that when the result is war with Iran and the axis of resistance. It would be very devastating.

The attack would also be against the wishes of the United States in this case. They want to avoid escalating the situation at all costs.

Drone ramp: The Iranian naval ship Iris Lavan has a number of drone and missile launchers. The photo is from 2022. Photo: – /AFP/NTB

The relationship between Iran, Israel, and the United States is roughly explained:

  • They were once allies. Today, they have become competitors in the battle for influence and power in the region.
  • Since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Islamic regime in Iran has had a conflicted relationship with Israel and the United States. Iran is considered a major power in the region, and has long had a controversial nuclear program. In addition, the Islamic regime has links with other Islamist groups in Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Gaza – which are often called the Axis of Resistance.
  • Iranian air strikes against Israel occurred on April 14 after the bombing of the Iranian consulate in Damascus. Israel did not claim responsibility, but the United States stated that the attack was Israeli.
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  • Israel considers Iran an enemy, and for many years Israeli governments have portrayed the Iranian nuclear program as a major threat to Israel's existence. Israel itself has nuclear weapons and is a close ally of the United States.
  • In the wake of the Iranian attack, Israel announced that it would respond to the attack.
United States of America
  • Iran refers to the United States as the Great Satan, while the United States describes Iran as the main sponsor of terrorism in the world. Meanwhile, the relationship between the two countries was stable until 2018. Under former President Donald Trump, the United States withdrew from the nuclear agreement and reimposed sanctions on Iran. This is despite the fact that UN observers concluded that Iran had adhered to its part of the agreement.
  • The United States said on Sunday, April 14, that it would support the defense of Israel, but would not participate in any type of attack against Iran.

Sources: United Nations, Rand Wilson Center

Shahed drone: Russia uses Iranian Shahed drones in the war against Ukraine. Photograph: Efrem Lukatsky/AP/NTB