Assignment Iran: History of U.S. Army Training of Iranian Imperial Army Special Forces Group

Considering the rise of Extremsit Wahabi Islamist Terrorism in the form of Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Al-Shabab, and other off shoots, it may appear that Iran would be the natural choice as an American ally in the region again.  Iran has the highest population in the region with a culture and civilization that is 7000 years old (not 70 years old due to the discovery of oil in the desert) and had an Imperial Monarchy for 2500 years.  Historically it's relationship with America was always a good one, because America was the only country that did not want to colonize it's lands like Imperial Britain and other European countries.  If the influences of other's in the region can leave American foreign policy, this alliance could be established again.  However, this also means that Iran itself needs to change the way it does thing as well, for example provide better conditions for it's own people and promote a more free economic system so the country can flourish.  In comparison to other countries in the region, Iran has the most advanced form of democracy and social freedoms as have been illustrated by CNN's Fareed Zakaria.  Let's take a look at the history of US-Iranian cooperation in the past... 

Following the rise of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1925 the new Imperial Iranian Army became a priority. Dramatic reforms brought in a host of western advisors and over the course of the next 50 years the army was to become the world's fifth strongest by 1979. Throughout the 1970s the Imperial Iranian Ground Forces, as they were then known, underwent a rapid transformation and increase in strength.

In 1979 the Army was a largely mechanized and armored force of about 285,000 troops; Organized in 3 corps, with headquarters in Tehran area, in Shiraz in the south, and in Kermanshah near the Iraq border. There were additional plans for a fourth corps to be established at the Chah Bahar complex at the eastern end of the Persian Gulf.

Its major ground formations included the following: * Three armored divisions (plus one more in organization in Sistan Baluchestan): each with six tank battalions and five mechanized infantry battalions, * Three infantry divisions, * Two Iranian Imperial Guard Divisions and * Four independent brigades (1 armored, 1 infantry, 1 airborne and 1 Special Forces) * Army Aviation Command with 200 plus helicopters.

These combat units, backed up by the usual complement of support units, were said to be 85 percent operational.

When the Pahlavi dynasty came through power the Qajar dynasty was already weak from years of war with Russia. The standing Persian army was almost non-existent. The new king Reza Shah Pahlavi, was quick to develop a new military. In part, this involved sending hundreds of officers to European and American military academies. It also involved having foreigners re-train the existing army within Iran. In this period the Iranian Air Force was established and the foundation for a new Navy was laid.

Following Germany's invasion of the USSR in June 1941, Britain and the Soviet Union became allies. Both saw the newly opened Trans-Iranian Railroad as a strategic route to transport supplies from the Persian Gulf to the Soviet region. In August 1941, Britain and the USSR invaded Iran and deposed Reza Shah Pahlavi in favor of his son Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. Following the end of the Second World War Iran's independence was respected and both countries withdrew.

Following a number of clashes in April 1969, international relations with Iraq fell into a steep decline, mainly due to a dispute over the Shatt al-Arab waterway in the 1937 Algiers Accord. Iran abrogated the 1937 accord and demanded a renegotiation which ended completely in its favor. Furthermore, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi embarked on an unprecedented modernisation program for the armed forces. In many cases Iran was being supplied with advanced weaponry even before it was supplied to the armies of the countries that developed it. The Iranian military, while very well armed and trained at this point was totally reliant on external suppliers for its equipment. By 1978 Iran had the worlds 5th strongest and largest army and was the clear undisputed regional superpower. During this period of strength Iran protected its interests militarily in the region: In Oman, the Dhofar Rebellion was quashed. In November 1971 Iranian forces seized control of three uninhabited but strategic islands at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) is a designation for American military advisors sent to assist in the training of conventional armed forces of Third World countries. Before and during the Vietnam War, there were three of these groups operating in Southeast Asia. Though the term is not as widespread as it once was, the term MAAG is still used for MILGRPs helping promote military partnerships with several Latin American countries such as Peru and the Dominican Republic as well as in African countries such as Liberia.

The following is video footage of Iran from 1900 to 1978:

The current situation is as follows: The Islamic Republic of Iran Army is the ground force of the Military of Islamic Republic of Iran. In Iran, it is also called Artesh, which is Persian for "army." As of 2007, the regular Iranian Army was estimated to have 465,000 personnel (235,000 conscripts and 230,000 professionals) plus around 350,000 reservists for a total of 815,000 soldiers according to the CSIS. Conscripts serve for 18 months and have professionell military training.

Iran has two parallel land forces with some integration at the command level: the regular Artesh (Army), and the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, also known as the Pasdaran (IRGC).

Now let's listen to the words of our former CIA officer's who have had experience on Iran: 

This is another Ex-CIA Officer discussing Iran, The Middle East (West Asia), The Arab Spring, and The Islamic World: 


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