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Iran Military


The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran include the IRIA, the IRGC and the Police Force. These forces has about 545,000 active personnel. Both fall under the commands of the Ministry's of Defence & Armed Forces Logistics.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Army consists of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army, Islamic Republic of Iran Navy, Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force. The regular armed forces have an estimated 420,000 personnel: the Islamic Republic of Iran Army, 350,000 personnel; the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy, 18,000 personnel; and the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, 52,000 airmen. The Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, or Revolutionary Guards, has an estimated 125,000 personnel in five branches. It has its own Navy, Air Force and Ground Forces; and the Quds Force (Special Forces).

The Basij is a paramilitary volunteer force controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards; it has a claimed membership of 12.6 million, including women and children, of which perhaps 3 million are combat capable. There are a claimed 2,500 battalions of which some are full-time personnel. says that there are 90,000 full-time Basij personnel and 300,000 Basij reservists.

Iran's military capabilities are kept largely secret. Since 1992, it has produced its own tanks, armoured personnel carriers, guided missiles, submarines and fighter planes. In recent years, official announcements have highlighted the development of weapons such as the Fajr-3 (MIRV), Hoot, Kowsar, Zelzal, Fateh-110, Shahab-3 missiles and a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The Fajr-3 (MIRV) is currently Iran's most advanced ballistic missile. It is a domestically-developed and produced liquid fuel missile with an unknown range. The IRIS solid-fuelled missile is a program which is supposed to be Iran's first missile to bring satellites into orbit. In 2005, Iran's military spending represented 3.3% of the GDP or US$91 per capita, the lowest figure of the Persian Gulf nations. Iran's official military doctrine is to defend its territorial integrity only.


Military branches
Islamic Republic of Iran Regular Forces (Artesh): Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force of the Military of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Niru-ye Hava'i-ye Artesh-e Jomhuri-ye Eslami-ye Iran; includes air defence); Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enqelab-e Eslami, IRGC): Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force, Quds Force; and Basij Force (Popular Mobilisation Army); Law Enforcement Forces (2008)

Military service age and obligation
19 years of age for compulsory military service; 16 years of age for volunteers; 17 years of age for Law Enforcement Forces; 15 years of age for Basij Forces (Popular Mobilisation Army); conscript military service obligation - 18 months; women exempt from military service (2008)

Manpower available for military service
males age 16-49: 20,212,275
females age 16-49: 19,638,751 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
males age 16-49: 17,416,126
females age 16-49: 16,928,226 (2008 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually
males age 16-49: 766,668
females age 16-49: 727,654 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP
2.5% (2006)





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