Earlier this week, the United States said it is sending a carrier strike group to the Middle East in response to "a credible threat" by Iran. While deployments of U.S. aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf are not unusual, what was unusual was the manner in which the USS Abraham Lincoln's destination as announced. The ship and its accompanying escorts are in the Mediterranean and on the way to the region anyway but the deployment was directly announced by National Security Advisor John Bolton on Sunday. He was provocative and did not provide any explanation about the Iranian threat cited.
If the U.S. did end up carrying out a military strike against Iran, what would it be faced with? Much of Iran's military equipment is old and dates from the Shah-era. To make matters worse, substantial quantities of equipment was manufactured in the U.S. such as F-14 and Vietnam-era F-4 fighter jets, M113 armored personnel carriers and Hawk missile systems. Obtaining spare parts for these weapons systems has proven extremely difficult given Tehran's current relationship with Washington, meaning that many of them have been left inoperable. Nevertheless, the Iranian military does have a strength of nearly 900,000 active-duty personnel, rendering it a force to be reckoned with in the Middle East despite its old and rusty equipment. The estimates in this infographic relate to 2015 and were compiled by website GlobalSecurity.org.
This chart shows the estimated military strength of Iran in 2015.
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