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Iran reprotedly has more than 523,000 personnel on active service, comprising 350,000 in the army, including 220,000 conscripts. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, viewed as the most loyal guardians of the ruling system, has a further 125,000 soldiers.
Young Iranian men are obliged to serve 18 months in the military service when they turn 19 years old, and volunteers begin at 18 years old. A paramilitary volunteer militia, the Basij Forces (literally “Mobilisation of the Oppressed”), takes members from age 15.
Charged with defending the country’s borders and maintaining internal order, Iran’s military is comprised of the Islamic Republic of Iran Regular Forces (Artesh), which has ground forces, a navy, an air force (IRIAF) and Khatemolanbia Air Defence Headquarters. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enqelab-e Islami) consists of the Ground Resistance Forces, Navy, Aerospace Force and the Quds Force (special operations).
There are 18,000 Iranian naval personnel and 30,000 air force personnel, including 12,000 in air defence.