Economic upheaval in the post-revolutionary period, its ideological concerns, the lessons of the war with Iraq and the drive to assert regional dominance have shaped Iran’s emerging military doctrine. This research intends to determine Iran’s military strength, relying on a particular formula that assesses a number of factors, including military budget, manpower, army assets, ballistic missile arsenal, proxy forces, and cyberwarfare capability. The research assumes that Iran’s arsenal is very limited and somewhat antiquated, more suitable for defensive rather than offensive operations. The second objective of the research is to address the possible strategic consequences of Iran rebuilding its military capabilities on regional security. The article assumes that Iran will likely be judged by its intentions rather than its actions, meaning that if its rhetoric is offensive, then it is likely to be judged as a threat.
When Iran’s nuclear agreement was signed, critics raised questions about the terms of the agreement, its duration and especially about whether the deal would prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons. However now, three years since the agreement was signed, one might be able to judge whether or not it is a good deal and what are its future implications. This research intends to review three specific clusters of concerns that critics had, and tries to find out whether or not these concerns have materialized. The first was that under the guise of the JCPOA Iran would commence a clandestine weaponization to produce a bomb. The second concern was that regional actors would respond to the JCPOA by developing their own nuclear arsenals. The third concern was that Iran would use the money it would receive from the sanctions relief to expand its regional ambitions.
Much like Iran’s nuclear program, scholars and policy makers are largely puzzled to understand Iran’s intentions in developing its ballistic missile program. The aim of this study is to understand Iran’s objectives in developing its ballistic missiles arsenal. To fulfill this objective, the article reviews the entire history of Iran’s ballistic missile program. It hypothesizes that just like its nuclear program, Iran developed its ballistic missiles arsenal as a strategy of deterrence, a response to Iraq’s invasion and Washington’s policy of containment. The second hypothesis held that Iran’s determination to continue developing its ballistic missile program might be an attempt to dissuade its rivals from exercising power in the Middle East.