A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Georgetown University Press
Download PDF (77.9 KB)
List of Figures
Download PDF (56.9 KB)
Preface and Acknowledgments
Download PDF (439.4 KB)
This history of Iran's armed forces attempts to illustrate some important truths that can be helpful in understanding the Iranian military’s potential role in the world in the coming century. Iran has not done well during the past two centuries in the box- score shorthand of wars that include the number of battles lost, men killed and wounded, and equipment destroyed. Nonetheless, this book...
Introduction: The Iranian Phoenix
Download PDF (369.8 KB)
In 1978 Iran and its armed forces seemed to stand at the peak of their power and prestige in the modern era. Bountiful oil revenues and a strategic position overlooking the vital Persian Gulf oil export routes boosted Iran’s standing in the world. Cold War competition made Iran a recipient of Western and Soviet arms and attention. Iran had just passed Egypt, a far more populous...
1 Heritage of Greatness, Legacy of Loss
Download PDF (866.7 KB)
The first great Persian Dynasty, the Achaemenids, was a diverse but powerful empire that lasted for just over two centuries and provided inspiration for subsequent Iranian polities down through the ages. In the late ancient and medieval eras, southwest Asia witnessed the rise of the Parthian and Sassanian dynasties, whose constant competition with the leading Western empires is viewed in modern...
2 Powerful Predecessors: The Safavids and Nader Shah
Download PDF (162.5 KB)
In the period between Tamerlane and the late eighteenth century, Iran was home to one more great empire and to the last great Asian conqueror. The Safavid dynasty (1501–1760), which made Persia once again a center of high civilization and wealth, joined Persian culture to the creed of Shia Islam, which has ever since defined and inspired Iran as a nation. The Safavids built the first Persian...
3 Laughingstock: The Qajar Military
Download PDF (401.2 KB)
Th nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed Iran’s uneasy transition into a modern nation- state under the increasingly decrepit Qajar dynasty (1794–1926). The country solidified its contemporary boundaries during this period while its ethnic Persians, Azeris, and other peoples increasingly adopted an Iranian national consciousness. The Qajars’ greatest challenge,...
4 Nationalism Unleashed: From Revolution to the Great War
Download PDF (227.7 KB)
The regular military's unsteady march toward modernity and effectiveness came to a virtual standstill aft er the start of the twentieth century, but a new popular fighting force arrived on the scene to lay part of the foundation for future improvements. These revolutionary militias, called the mujahedin, or “fighters of the holy cause,” by their contemporaries, arose to battle for Western- style...
5 Two Paths: The Birth of the Modern Iranian Armed Forces
Download PDF (190.9 KB)
Following the first world war the character of the two main contestants to become Iran’s dominant military force presented very different paths to the emerging modern nation- state. On one path was the promonarchy and authoritarian Persian Cossack Brigade, which had no tradition of being answerable to Iranian authorities or the Iranian people. On the other, the prodemocratic and...
6 Sidelined: The World at War in Iran
Download PDF (286.9 KB)
From the time Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland in September 1939 until the Soviets and British invaded Iran in August 1941, Reza Shah and his country were the subject of intense great power concern and operational planning. The shah had proclaimed Iran’s neutrality in early September 1939, but the sum of Allied fears was an exaggerated picture of the real but still limited...
7 Cold War Pillar: The Rise of the Imperial Armed Forces
Download PDF (212.9 KB)
During his reign, Muhammad Reza surpassed his father in lavishing attention and resources on Iran’s armed forces. Over the course of the three decades following World War II the country recovered from war and internal turmoil and was blessed with a windfall of oil revenues that allowed the monarch to achieve most of his material ambitions for a large, well- armed, and modern military. But the Pahlavi...
8 Old Guard, New Guard: Iran’s Armed Forces in the Islamic Revolution
Download PDF (212.6 KB)
By 1978 the Iranian military buildup had given Muhammad Reza “the capability to patrol the sea as far south as Madagascar and the skies as far west as Cairo.”1 With his armed forces becoming even more powerful, the shah had declared a new Persian Empire. Blinded by his grand plans, he ignored numerous warning signs about the fraying of his dynasty and armed forces. The shah failed...
9 Horrible Sacrifice: The Iran- Iraq War
Download PDF (529.7 KB)
The eight years of war with Iraq were instrumental in shaping the current structure and outlook of Iran’s armed forces. Ironically, Iraq’s invasion in September 1980 was a godsend for Khomeini and his allied hard- liners, who were facing waning popular enthusiasm for the new order. The Iraqi aggression ensured the clerical regime’s survival by reviving the public’s nationalism and diverting...
10 Despise Not Your Enemy: Iran’s Armed Forces in the Twenty- first Century
Download PDF (209.5 KB)
Two decades after the end of the Iran-Iraq war the Iranian armed forces have been slowly rising from the ashes to help their country reclaim what the government sees as its rightful place in the world. Iran still has significant shortcomings in most categories of combat power and military effectiveness. Still, the Iranian military had improved its strengths enough by 2005 to be called a significant...
Download PDF (173.7 KB)
Download PDF (145.4 KB)
Download PDF (1.2 MB)
Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2009
Series Editor Byline: