Iran's Developing Military Capabilities
May 1, 2005
Iran is a far less modern military power in comparative terms than it was during the time of the shah or during the Iran-Iraq War. Nevertheless, it is slowly improving its conventional forces, and it is now the only regional military power that poses a serious conventional military threat to Persian Gulf stability. Iran has significant capabilities for asymmetric warfare and poses the additional threat of proliferation, and there is considerable evidence that it is developing both a long-range missile force and a range of weapons of mass destruction. It has never properly declared its holdings of chemical weapons, and the status of its biological weapons programs is unknown. The disclosures made by the International Atomic Energy Agency since 2002 indicate that it is likely that Iran will continue to covertly seek nuclear weapons. In this new analysis and assessment, Anthony Cordesman draws on a wide variety of classified and unclassified sources to provide a clearer picture of Iran’s developing military capabilities in 2005.
Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at CSIS and is a military analyst for ABC News. A frequent commentator on National Public Radio and the BBC, he is the author of numerous books on security issues, including The Iraq War (CSIS, 2003), The War after the War (CSIS, 2004), and The Military Balance in the Middle East (Praeger/CSIS, 2004).