Helms School of Government


Master of Science in International Relations (MS)


David Holt


Artesh, Iran-Iraq War, naval reforms, Islamic Republic of Iran Navy


International and Area Studies | Political Science


Despite the large media coverage around Iran’s military actions, the role of the Artesh in Iran’s national security structure is often unmentioned. Looking at the evolution of the Artesh since the fall of the Shah of Iran, this study uses firsthand accounts, recent research, and governmental statements and reports to trace the Artesh’s journey to present day. It examines several battlefield successes and failures during the Iran-Iraq War to gauge the ability of the Artesh to adjust in a wartime environment. These adjustments are mixed with some valuable lessons being implemented to later battles while other important lessons remained unapplied. It employs victory theory to the Artesh Navy’s 2007 naval reforms, evaluating the congruence of the reforms with Iran’s vision of naval warfare, and concludes that Iran’s reforms are inline with its strategic goals at sea. The results of this study help shed light on the applications of the Artesh and Iran’s abilities to exercise power using it outside the original post-Iran Iraq War intent and may support further study of this significant topic.