Iran is reshaping its military command structure to enhance its ability to deploy and use conventional military power throughout the Middle East. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently reorganized the military’s chain of command with a series of appointments and structural changes that will better enable it to plan and conduct military operations using all branches of Iran’s conventional military forces.
Key takeaway: The Islamic Republic remains a revolutionary state dedicated to its founding principles of exporting its ideology to neighboring countries.
AEI’s Critical Threats Project has been tracking Iranian presidential election developments closely. This page will be continually revised as the election progresses. It was last updated on November 21, 2016. For daily updates on Iranian politics and military activity, subscribe to the Iran News Round Up.
Russia’s use of Iran’s Hamedan airfield may have “ended for now,” but Russo-Iranian military cooperation is far from over. Both states have indicated that Russia may use Shahid Nojeh Air Base in the future. This development is of limited significance for Russian military operations in Syria, since Russia has an airbase in Syria itself already. It may, however, be very significant for Iran’s ability to deter the U.S. and its regional adversaries.
Source: “S-300PMU2 complex,” Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:S-300PMU2_complex.jpg.
Key takeaway: Iran is likely to revise its electoral system in the near future. A proposal by Guardian Council spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodaei would reduce the council’s overt involvement in the candidate vetting process but still maintain its ability to disproportionately disqualify reformist candidates. Kadkhodaei advocates strengthening Iran’s weak party system by registering a handful of political parties. The parties would conduct most of the candidate vetting themselves.
Nearly two hundred flights have taken off from airfields in the Islamic Republic of Iran to land in Syria since the Iran nuclear deal was announced one year ago, according to publicly available flight-tracking data. These commercial aircraft have almost certainly been ferrying troops and arms that, in conjunction with Russian air strikes and the deployment of thousands of Iranian forces, have staved off defeat for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei shook up over 25 years of leadership in the Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS), the body that oversees both Iran’s conventional forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), when he replaced Major General Hassan Firouzabadi with IRGC Major General Mohammad Bagheri as AFGS Chief on June 28.