A Look at Iran’s Military Capabilities as It Threatens Israel

The possibility of a direct military confrontation between Iran and Israel has brought renewed attention to Iran’s armed forces. Early this month, Israel attacked a building in Iran’s diplomatic compound in the Syrian capital, Damascus, killing seven of Iran’s senior commanders and military personnel. Iran then threatened to retaliate.

Here’s a look at Iran’s military and its capabilities.

Why is Iran’s military relevant right now?

After Israel attacked the Iranian diplomatic compound in Damascus, Tehran responded with a threat to avenge the killings of its military personnel. Israel has said the compound was a legitimate target because it was being used by military commanders.

Officials from the United States and Israel assessed that Iran’s response was likely to be launched from its own territory.

That was what the Iranians did after President Donald J. Trump ordered the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in 2020, firing ballistic missiles at two American military bases in Iraq and wounding over 100 American soldiers.

Israeli officials have said they will respond to any attack by Iran with a counterattack, which could prompt more retaliation from Iran and possibly expand into a wider regional war. There is even a chance that a conflict of that sort could drag in the United States, although Washington has made clear it had nothing to do with the Damascus attack.

While Iran is expected to mount an attack within days on Israel, U.S. and Iranian officials said Friday they did not expect the United States or its military forces to be targeted.

Power by Proxy: How Iran Shapes the Mideast

A guide to the armed groups that let Iran extend its influence throughout the region.

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