Iranian Ways of War

From Cyrus the Great to Qasem Soleimani

January 2025 9781787380349 320pp


This book traces the long history of Iran’s wars, and the evolution of the Islamic Republic’s military trajectory since 1979. Ahmed Hashim draws on Farsi, Arabic and European sources to explore Iran’s efforts to create modern armed forces, the devastating Iran–Iraq War (1980–8), and Tehran’s evolving fighting capabilities in Syria and Iraq. This analysis offers clues as to how Iran may fare—directly or by proxy—in future confrontations with its enemies, including the US and Israel.

Above all, Iranian Ways of War addresses how Iran fights, and why. It offers a corrective to prevailing narratives about its bellicose character and alleged mischief-making throughout the Middle East and beyond. Hashim unpacks with nuance Iran’s milestone agreement to curb its nuclear weapons development, within the context of an unstable regional environment, full of myriad enemies and complicating historical factors affecting Iranian decision-makers’ psyches.
A long history of confrontation with America, and perceived victimhood as a Shia entity in an overwhelmingly Sunni Middle East, have primed Iran for war.


Ahmed S. Hashim is Professor of War Studies, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, and Australian War College, Center for Future Defence and National Security, Canberra, ACT.

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