Podcast: Just how strong is Iran’s military?

September 10, 2015
Participants: Robert Beckhusen, Jason Fields, Matthew Gault

At this point, President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran seems like a foregone conclusion. Unless something dramatic happens, Iran will soon become a larger part of the international community, allow inspectors to investigate its nuclear sites and America and its allies will lift long-standing sanctions.

Even supporters of the deal, such as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, believe that lifting sanctions will allow Iran to become a regional military threat. “I think [Iran] will invest in additional military capability,” Dempsey said during a June visit to Jerusalem.

Yet the Iranian threat may not be quite what opponents fear. Experts agree Iran will buy military equipment once the world lifts its sanctions. But the Islamic Republic will spend years rebuilding both its fragile economy and its lackluster military.

When sanctions lift, the Islamic Republic will most likely rebuild its shattered economy using its oil reserves. But with oil trading below $50 a barrel even before Iran hits the scene, it’s likely years before Iran can buy the weapons it wants.

Iran will also invest heavily in its current military infrastructure. Much of its equipment is 1970s era hardware America sold it when Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was in power. It takes a lot of cash and creative engineering to keep it all running.

On top of that, the regional powers surrounding Iran, such as Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states are lightyears ahead of Iran in terms of military spending and equipment. All these factors are likely keep Iran from being much of an offensive threat — both regionally and globally — for years to come.

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For further reading:

Grounding the Ayatollah’s Tomcats

Stop freaking out–Iran’s military is weak even without sanctions

Hey Iran! Millions of dollars in weapons can’t buy a stable Yemen

4 comments

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Good article.

These countries are best left alone to their life and living rather calamity/fear mongering based on some empty words not backed by the needed threshold of capabilities nor infrastructure. Short of that, we are seeing the unleashed calamity across the region because of our interference based on thinking/ideologies rooted in fallacy.

Posted by Mottjr | Report as abusive

Iran sits at the center of a regional arms bazaar that actively seeks to destabilize its neighbors and stokes conflicts costing the lives of countless civilians.Iran is Hamas sugardaddy for weapons, funds and technical expertise. Its supply of illicit missiles into Gaza has allowed Hamas the opportunity to rain down destruction on Israel. Now, irrespective of how you might feel about Israel’s response, there is no doubt that Iran’s weapons are the catalyst for the size, scope and scale of this conflict, far beyond anything that has happened before. It’s a recipe that Iran has perfected with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and now in Iraq. Iran’s tentacles extend far and wide and its weapons are shedding the blood of innocent civilians in conflicts all throughout the region. We’re not likely to see any change in this pattern unless there is change in Iran.

Posted by ChangeIranNow | Report as abusive

But Netanyahu and GOP keep telling us that we should be terrified of Iran like we were really scared of Iraq before we found the huge stockpile of WMDs in Baghdad. So you mean Yahu and GOP are pathological liars?

Posted by Jeolog | Report as abusive

Even if what this article says is half true, then why is the USA, some western countries and Israel keep spooking us……..fear folks is a good tool.

Posted by notlurking | Report as abusive