Not an easy question to answer.
Iran vs. Britain: Who Would Win if a War Starts?
Breathless was the headline in Britain’s tabloid Daily Express: “Iran military strength REVEALED as tensions with the UK soar.”
“A comparison of the UK and Iran’s military strength shows Britain falling behind when it comes to manpower, land and naval strength and petroleum resources,” the newspaper proclaimed after Iran seized a British tanker in the Persian Gulf, in retaliation for Britain seizing an Iranian tanker at Gibraltar.
The Daily Express article was based on GlobalFirepower.com, which features both statistics on the armed forces of 137 nations, and ranks those nations using a proprietary formula that apparently includes a nation’s population and military manpower, geographical size, financial strength, oil reserves, transportation infrastructure, and quantity of military hardware.
Britain ranks eighth on the “Global Firepower Index,” while Iran comes in not far behind in 14th place (the U.S. comes in first place, Israel 17th). Indeed, GlobalFirepower.com lists Iran as being stronger than Britain in several categories: 873,000 military personnel to Britain’s 233,000, 1,634 Iranian tanks to 331 British vehicles and 386 Iranian naval vessels to 76 British (Britain is credited with more airpower, with 811 military aircraft to 509 Iranian). Iran has more oil, but weaker finances.
All of which proves how much statistics can be misleading. Britain and Iran are not in the same league at all.