Iran’s Armed Forces in a Turbulent World

History indicates that Iran has not initiated any wars in recent centuries, but it has repeatedly been invaded.

by Humayon Aliyari

This article is based on the speech delivered by the author on the occasion of the anniversary of Army Day in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 under the leadership of Imam Khomeini (peace be upon him), the Iranian Armed Forces have effectively fulfilled their duty to safeguard the nation’s independence. The alignment of the Iranian Armed Forces with the Islamic Revolution and the heroic endeavors of the brave soldiers in supporting the Iranian people and defending the achievements of the Revolution led the Founder of the Islamic Revolution to designate April 18th as Armed Forces Day in honor of their valor and sacrifices. Following the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian Armed Forces, in their first bitter and imposed defensive experience, with the support of the people, stood against mercenary separatists affiliated with global arrogance and later against Saddam Hussein’s invasion of our territorial integrity, which was supported by many countries. They stood firm, refusing to allow even an inch of our homeland to be separated from our motherland. This period in Iran’s history is known as the Holy Defense.

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri (left) and Commander-in-Chief of the Army Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi visited one of the Army's secret underground bases on May 28, 2022.

The challenges of this imposed war and the comprehensive support of global arrogance, brutal sanctions, and the West, led by the United States and other countries, have enabled the Iranian Armed Forces to focus on self-reliance and self-sufficiency in the field of much-needed defense equipment. Through the expertise of domestic specialists, Iran has achieved significant successes in all dimensions of modern defense technologies, from pistols to tanks, warships, ballistic and cruise missiles, communication and radar systems, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), satellites, and more. Presently, the defense products of the I.R. of Iran meet the highest global standards. This capability, alongside the popular support of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution and the Armed Forces, has allowed Iran to respond decisively to any aggression against its territorial integrity and interests. Examples of this response include the missile strikes by the Iranian Armed Forces on the American Al-Assad base in 2020 and the military bases of the Zionist regime in the past few days. Furthermore, the Iranian Armed Forces have assisted people in emergencies and natural disasters, both domestically and internationally, even aiding the victims of incidents in other countries. Undoubtedly, the possession of deterrence power by the Iranian Armed Forces and their alignment with the interests of neighboring, friendly, and allied countries are crucial factors in regional and international security. Therefore, on behalf of the Iranian Armed Forces, I declare the full readiness of the Armed Forces of the I.R. of Iran for defense-security cooperation to establish peace and tranquility in the region and the world.

It is evident that the Iranian Armed Forces, with their high deterrence power and combat readiness, will not tolerate any aggression against Iran’s territorial integrity and interests and will deliver a harsh and regrettable response to any adventurism at the appropriate time and place. History indicates that Iran has not initiated any wars in recent centuries, but it has repeatedly been invaded. Based on this, Iran has established a defensive deterrence doctrine, in which the role of defensive diplomacy is prominent.

Unfortunately, today, in the face of the watchful eyes of awakened nations and the pure consciences of humanity, and of course, the inefficiency of organizations claiming advocacy for human rights and the American (affiliated) Security Council, more than 33,000 innocent people of Palestine, including children, have been martyred in the past 6 months. In line with defense diplomacy, the Iranian Armed Forces conduct components annually, dispatch military delegations to countries worldwide, and send naval groups across the globe. In this regard, last year, a military delegation participated in the security maritime Galle dialogue, and this year, the 96th Iranian naval group arrived in Colombo with a message of peace and friendship. I would like to express my appreciation to the government, Ministry of Defense, and Navy of our friendly country, Sri Lanka, for hosting this naval group.

I deem it necessary to emphasize the importance of the Indian Ocean and the geostrategic position of Sri Lanka in this vital region. The presence of trans-regional military forces, climate change, the environment, maritime security, economic security, drug trafficking, illegal fishing, media, cyberspace, and artificial intelligence (AI) are significant security issues and challenges in the Indian Ocean that can directly affect the national security of countries in this region. Therefore, Iran seeks cooperation with all countries in this region, especially Sri Lanka, to establish security, peace, and stability.