10 Things You Need To Know About Iran's Military
In 2015 a landmark deal between Iran and Western powers ended one of the most tense diplomatic stand-offs.
But as relations with its Middle Eastern rival Saudi Arabia deteriorate, over the execution of a prominent Shia cleric, is it all diplomatic posturing or is there real potential for armed conflict?
 We look at facts behind one of the biggest players the Middle East:
  1. Iran's active forces number 523,000, including the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). (IISS, 2013)
  2. The Iranian defence budget as of 2013 was $23.9bn 
  3. Saudi Arabia’s military outspends the Islamic Republic's 5-to-1.
  4. Iran's Ghadir Class Midget Submarines pose a threat to the geopolitically important Straight of Hormuz, which roughly 20 percent of global oil supplies must transverse on their way to markets.
  5. Iran has a large stockpile of Sejjil Class Ballistic Missiles with a range of 2,000 - 2,500km.
  6. The IRGS's Qud's Force is a special overseas force and is said to carry out a range of highly sensitive functions including intelligence, special ops, arms smuggling and political action.
  7. The United States could destroy all key elements of Iranian military power in virtually any scenario in a matter of weeks, if Washington had the support of Iran’s neighbours. It could inflict devastating damage in a matter of days.
  8. Iran commandeered and captured an American Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel using cyber warfare.
  9. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, has said that the possession of nuclear weapons is a “grave sin”.
  10. The Iranian president said Iran `never sought ... (and) will never seek to manufacture a nuclear weapon'