It is these two forces that are creating a dire situation in the Middle East

Both Israel's and Iran's armies have their own strengths, but the quality characteristics of military equipment in particular are poor in Israel.

The situation between Israel and Iran has tightened again after Israel responded to Iran's mid-April airstrikes on Friday. Iran's earlier attack was in response to Israel's attack on the country's embassy in Damascus, Syria.

Both countries have significant military power in the Middle East, but there are clear differences in their militaries. Iran seems to rely on the level of military power and Israel on quality.

Iranian soldiers paraded in Tehran to mark Army Day. AOP

The numbers are on Iran's side

Iran has at its disposal an active army of approximately 580,000 soldiers, supported when needed by 200,000 trained reservists.

Apart from this, Iran is known to train and support many militants, especially those who oppose Israel. These include Hezbollah, which operates in Lebanon, Yemen's Houthi rebels, and the Palestinian organizations Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Militant organizations cannot be counted as belonging directly to the Iranian military. The New York Times Accordingly they can be considered regional powers aligned with Iran. Hezbollah in particular fits this definition.

The Israeli military has approximately 170,000 active personnel, and approximately 465,000 trained soldiers in reserve.

Israel wins in quality

Iran's biggest weakness is its air force, whose equipment is a mix of Western and Soviet technology. Since the country's last shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fled Iran in 1979, the country has been unable to update its Western equipment. At the same time, the Pahlavi's relations with the West weakened.

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The Iranian Air Force still operates, among others, Western F-14 fighter jets and Soviet-era Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft. Both engines were introduced in 1974 and discontinued in the 1990s.

The Israeli Air Force's fighter jets are mostly F-16 fighter jets, which are still in production. In addition, the country also has new F-35 fighter jets at its disposal.

Norwegian Air Force F-35 fighter jets are pictured during the 2023 Arctic Challenge exercise by Sweden, Finland and Norway. The same modern equipment can be found in Israel. EPA/AOP

Iran's strength in long-range weapons

Iran's greatest strength lies in its considerable number of long-range missiles. This group includes, for example, the Fateh-110 ballistic missiles, the Bawe cruise missile and the Shahed aircraft seen in the Ukrainian war.

Iran produces most of its own weapons, so it is not dependent on the global arms trade, especially for long-range munitions.

Unfortunately for Iran, air defense is what Israel is known for in the world. “David's Link”, which will support Finland's air defense in the future, showed its capabilities in air strikes in mid-April.

Iran has thousands of Shahed drones, which were also used in the Ukrainian war, that the country manufactures itself. AOP


Although Israel's greatest deterrent is said to be nuclear weapons, in practice the greatest deterrent is its most important ally, the United States.

The United States has demonstrated time and time again that it is willing to defend Israel's integrity militarily. This happened in April, when the country's air force participated in a massed defense against Iranian airstrikes.

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Among the world's military powers, Iran has the least close ties to China and Russia. In Syria, for example, the country has at least cooperated militarily with Russia, but the quality of relations Israel has with the United States is nowhere near that.

Iran is not currently known to possess nuclear weapons, but monitoring the country's nuclear program has become increasingly difficult after the Iranian government withdrew from a deal that pledged not to acquire nuclear weapons by 2020.

Israel has never publicly denied or confirmed that it has nuclear weapons. However, it is suspected that the country already acquired one in the 1960s.

American media The Wall Street Journal After Israel's April 19 strike, US President Joe Biden's administration said it was considering a new arms deal with Israel worth more than $1 billion.

Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, commander of the Israel Defense Forces, speaks at a press conference during the Juniper Oak exercise between the United States and Israel. AOP

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