Friday, February 20, 2015

Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics

Iran's current Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics was created in 1989 by the Rafsanjani government in a bid to streamline and centralize the military's procurement system. In this restructuring, the parallel ministries tasked with wartime logistics – the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of the IRGC – were folded into one another, doing away with the worst of the wasteful duplication, and compartmentalization. 1

Today, MODAFL is responsible for providing logistical support to the Armed Forces, and for managing the associated military industries. Specifically, their responsibilities are: 2
- Production and manufacture of new equipment.
- Maintenance of existing equipment.
- Coordination of intra and inter-service research under unified oversight.
- Foreign purchases.

Unlike other defense ministries around the world, the MODAFL is NOT responsible for shaping defense policy. Instead, this authority flows to the IRGC and Army from the Armed Forces General Staff, which is also responsible for directing the MODAFL's research and production.

Organization, MODAFL (click to enlarge)
Personnel, MODAFL (click to enlarge)

Staff / Personnel:
It is reasonable to assume the ministry's staff is organized into a body equivalent to an 'office of the minister of defense', which includes various deputies who direct and coordinate the ministry's subordinate industries.

Minister of Defense:
The ministry is currently headed by BG Hossein Deghan (IRGC), who was appointed in 08/2013 under the Rouhani government. Deghan is often portrayed as a compromise candidate with ties to all major political factions, who was chosen after Rouhani's initial pick – Hossein Alaei (IRGC) 3 – was rejected. 4 This is plausible given his history since 1979, which would have put him into contact with core IRGC personnel, as well as other perennial heavyweights like Shamkhani and Larijani. 5

According to his official biography, he has held command positions since the Revolution, including:

- His time in the field spans spans six years (1980-1986), and includes: commander, Tehran IRGC (1980-1982); commander, IRGC in Lebanon and Syria (1982-1984); commander, IRGC's Sarallah Operations HQ in Tehran (1984-1986).

- His time as a general-staff commander spans spans 10 years (1988-1996), and includes: deputy commander, IRGC-AF (1986-1990); commander, IRGC-AF (1990-1992); deputy head, IRGC-GS (1992-1996).

- His time in management and government positions spans nearly two decades (1996-present), and includes: director, IRGC's Cooperative Foundation (1996-1997); deputy defense minister under Shamkhani (1997-2003); senior advisor to DM Shamkhani (2003-2004); deputy head of the Veterans Affairs Foundation (2004-2009); deputy head and secretary to the Center of Defensive Strategic Studies (2009-2010); head of Expediency Council's Political, Military, and Security Commission (2010), adviser to the Majlis Speaker, Ali Larijani (2010).

Deputy Minister of Defense:
The current deputy minister is BG Amir Hatami (Army), who was appointed in 11/2013 under the Rouhani government. Prior to this, he was the deputy head of AFGS's HQ and Joint-Affairs Department for around two years under MG Mohammed Bagheri (IRGC).6 Prior to this, he served as the AFGS's manpower deputy through at least 2011.7

Deputy, Coordination:
Believed to be equivalent to a chief-of-staff, this position is currently held by BG Nasrallah Ezzati (Army). 8

BG Ezzati has also been described as the MODAFL's manpower deputy. It is unclear if he holds both positions separately, or if there is some other explanation. 9

Deputy, International-Affairs, Communications, and Defense Research:
The identity of the current deputy is unknown, but as of 2012 the position was held by BG2 Nasrallah Kalantai (IRGC). 10 11

When BG Vahidi held the position 2003-2005, it was known as the “deputy for plans and programs, and international affairs”. The significance of the change in nomenclature is unknown. 12

Deputy, Industrial Affairs and Research:
It is unclear who holds this position. Media articles simultaneously give the title to Mohammed Eslami (IRGC). 13 and BG Mehdi Farahi (IRGC). 14 One difference is that Eslami is described as the deputy to the minister, while Farahi is described as the deputy to the ministry.

Before being appointed to his current position in 11/2014, BG Farahi directed the AIO.

Deputy, Legal and Majlis Affairs:
BG2 Reza Tallaei-Nik (IRGC), appointed in 08/2013, holds this position. 15


Defense Industries Organization (DIO / SASAD):
The DIO is responsible for the MODAFL's general industrial production, which includes equipment that doesn't fall under the specialized air and naval industries described below. It is currently directed by BG2 Qasim Taqizadeh (IRGC). 16 17

The organization is composed of six or seven groups*: which in turn are comprised of 30+ distinct 'industries' that reflect further specialization (e.g. the VEIG's 'armor industries'). 18 19

These groups are:
- Armament Industries Group (AIG)* - Produces mortar tubes, recoilless rifles, rocket launchers, guns, and howitzers.
- Ammunition and Metallurgy Industries Group (AMIG) – Produces ammunition for guns and cannons, field artillery, and mortars.
- Chemical Industries Group (CIG) – Produces propellants and explosives.
- Individual Combat Industries Group (ICIG)* - Produces small arms and ammunition
- Rocket Industries Group (RIG) – Produces artillery rockets (107mm-333mm), and RPGs.
- Vehicle and Equipment Industries Group (VEIG) – Produces vehicles including tanks, APCs, trucks, and bulldozers, as well equipment like trailers and fire-control upgrades.
- Special Industries Group (SIG) – Produces miscellaneous equipment such as CBW gear, uniforms, and stoves.

* The ICIG may be associated with the AIG; DIO brochures indicate it's a distinct group, MODAFL brochures lump them together.

Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO):
The AIO is responsible for missile development. It is currently headed by Mehrdad Ekhlaghi, who was appointed to the position in 11/2014, and about whom little is known. 20 21 It's deputy director is BG2 Abdul-Karim Bani-Turuf. 22
Although less is known about the AIO's subsidiaries and their responsibilities, those bodies that can be identified include:
- Samen Alaeme Industries Group – May produce naval weapons, including torpedoes. 23 24 25
- Shahid Bagheri Industries Group (SBIG) – Produces solid-fuel ballistic missiles, including Nazeat and Zelzal. 26 27
- Shahid Hemmet Industries Group (SHIG) – Produces liquid-fuel ballistic missiles. 28 29
- Ya Mahdi Industries Group – Produces guided missiles, such as ATGMs. 30 31
- Shahid Babaie Industries – Associated with SAM development.
- Shahid Ahmad Kazemi Industries Group – Associated with SAM Development. 32
- Shahid Mallati Industries Group 33
- Fajr Industries Group 34
- Sanam Industries Group 35
- Other entities mentioned in one form or another include the Parchin Missile Industries, Shahid Motahari Industries, and the Shahid Shahabadi Industries. 36

Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO):
Responsible for aircraft production and support, the IAIO is currently directed by Manoucher Manteghi. 37 It is also known as the 'AIO', but the acronym 'IAIO' is typically used to distinguish it from the Aerospace Industries Organization.

Subsidiaries include: 38 39
- Iran Aircraft Industries (IACI/SAHA) – Founded and 1970 and based in Tehran, the IACI is responsible for major overhauls of civilian and military aircraft. Also responsible for producing components necessary for repair, including engines.
- Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industry Company (IAMI/HESA) – Founded in 1964, and based in Isfahan, the IAMI is responsible for manufacturing new aircraft.
- Iran Helicopter Support and Renewal Company (IHSRC/PANHA) – Founded in 1969 and based in Tehran, the IHSRC is responsible for major overhauls of civilian and military helicopters.
- Qods Aviation Industry – Founded in 1985 and based in Tehran, the Qods Industries is responsible for much of Iran's UAV production.
- Shahid Basir Research Center

Naval/Marine Industries Organization:
Comparable to the IAIO, the Marine Industries Organization is sometimes incorrectly described as a DIO subsidiary, the 'Marine Industries Group'.

It was founded in 1986 and is responsible for producing small fiberglass patrol boats, submarines, and larger ships such as the Sina missile boat, and the Mowj frigates, as well as a handful of civilian craft like tugboats and ferries.

It is currently directed by BG Amir Rastegari (Army). 40

Iran Electronics Industry Company (IEI / SAIRAN):
Alternately described as a 'company' or an 'organization', the IEI is responsible for producing radios, radars, jammers and other networking systems, as well as periscopes, weapon-sights, and other optics. It's current director is unknown. 41

Subsidiaries include: 42 - Shiraz Electronics Industry (SEI/SA Shiraz)
- Iran Communications Industry (ICI/SAMA)
- Iran Information Systems Company (ISI/IS Iran)
- Iran Electronic Components Industry Company (ECI/SAQA)
- Isfahan Optics Industry Company (IOI/SAPA)
- Iran Electronics Research Center (IERC)

Armed Forces Social Security Organization:
Responsible for an overwhelming – yet typically unseen – share of Iran's overall defense expenditure.

It is currently directed by BG Hossein Daqiqi (IRGC). 43

National Geography Organization (NGO):
Responsible for mapping and surveying, the NGO is currently headed by Mehdi Modri. 44

Energy Resource Development Organization:
Currently directed by Seyyed Majid Hedayat. 45

Cooperation Bonyad:
Although the specific responsibilities of this foundation are unknown, bonyads generally serve as investment vehicles for the associated organization.

It is currently directed by BG/BG2 Said Rafi'ei (Army). 46

Armed Forces Medical Service:
Currently directed by BG2 Najafipour (Army). 47

Malek Ashtar University

1) Military Industries in the Islamic Republic of Iran: An Assessment of the Defense Industries Organization. John Shields. USAF. 05/1996. p.7
2) Shields, 1996. p.8
3) Alaei fell out of favor with other high-level IRGC commanders after he criticized Khamenei's response to the 2009 unrest. He has since recanted, but remains tainted. IRGC Command Network. The IRGC Command Network: Formal Structures and Informal Influence. Will Fulton. AEI. 07/2013. p.19
4) Rouhani's Cautious Pick for Defense Minister. Will Fulton. Al-Monitor. 08/07/2013
6) Amir Hatemi Became Deputy Defense Minister. YJC. 11/03/2013.
7) All Soldiers in Kermanshah Given Added Service. AJA. 10/20/2011
8)  Basij Press
9) Honorable Youth Are Always Ready to Sacrifice on the Holy Path of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Defa News. 02/16/2015
10) The MoD's Dep't of Communication and Defense Studies Congratulated Fars News on its Anniversary. FNA. 03/09/2011
11) Red Cross to Expand Cooperation with Red Crescent in Iran. Mehr News. 06/27/2012.
12) Gen. Ahmed Vahidi. MoD.
13) Deputy Minister: Thanks to Sanctions, We Have Become Self-Sufficient in the field of Satellites. Tasnim News. 02/05/2015
14) Aerospace Industry is the Nucleus of the Country. IRNA. 02/09/2015
15) Reza Tallaei-Nik Became the MoD Deputy for Legal and Majlis Affairs. IRNA. 09/01/2013.
16) Defa News
17) Defa News
18) ISNA. 04/18/2011
19) The ICIG appears to be a recent creation, perhaps broken off the AIG post-2011.
20) ILNA. 11/12/2014
21) FNA. 11/12/2014 

22) Defa Press. 02/20/2015.
23) Minister of Defense Visits Samen Alaeme Industries Group. Defa News. 08/08/2014
24) FAS.
25) ibid Defa News, 08/08/201

26) Top SBIG Commanders Visit Ayatollah Hashemi. Defa News.11/03/2014
27) Iranian Missile Entity Interest In Purchasing Mercedes Benz Vehicles. Wikileaks. 01/17/2008 
28) The Iranian Revolution is a Pattern for the Islamic Awakening. Defa News. 04/13/2014 
29) Iranian Procurement Entities Non-Paper Delivered At March 1 U.S.-UAE Counterproliferation Task Force. Wikileaks. 04/22/2007.
30) Unknown Aspects of the Imposed War, Such as Science, [To Be] Taught. Defa News. 11/01/2014.

31) ibid Wikileaks, 04/22/2007.
32) UNSCR 1929. IAEA. 06/09/2010.
33) NEZAJA Commanders Visit Shahid Mellati Industries Group. Defa News. 12/14/2014
34) UNSCR 1737. IAEA. 12/27/2006.

35) UNSCR 1747. IAEA. 03/24/2007
36) Iran Watch.

37) Iran's Saeqeh-2 Fighter to be Unveiled Soon. Mehr News. 02/02/2015
38) Subordinate Organizations. Ministry of Defense.
39 Aviation Section. MoD Export Center. 40 PressTV.
41) FNA.
42) Iran Electronics Industry Company. MoD.
43) MoD. 02/09/2015 44 NCC 05/26/2014
45) Defa News. 11/05/2014.
46) IRNA. 07/07/2014.
47) Defa News. 08/04/2014


  1. This is excellent stuff. Probably the first time I've seen any analysis of Iran's military without the usual rampant speculation and bad sourcing. Keep it up!

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