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The Takavaran (plural of Takavar) fall under the direct command of the Supreme Leader of Iran.
The Takavaran is a naval commando force with about 200 soldiers. Takavaran hopefuls are hand-selected and highly trained for a variety of missions including land missions away from water. In addition to traditional naval special operations missions such as hydroponic surveys and beach head demolitions, Takavaran are tasked with small-unit raids that might involve sabotage and demolitions or assassinations, as well as prisoner snatches and hostage rescue operations.
Selection and Training
To be eligible for Takavar selection, a candidate must be of male gender and have completed at least two years regular service in the Iranian Armed Forces. If selected, training for the unit is an intense twelve-month process. First, the recruit must demonstrate the minimum physical requirements specified. The recruit is then sent to a collection of Operator Training schools; first being eight weeks of physical training, next dive school, jump school, weapons school, unarmed combat school, land warfare school, and finally, close-quarters combat school. After this, the prospective operator joins a team and serves out a six-month probationary term before becoming a full-fledged commando.
By the time he becomes a full-fledged commando, the Takavaran soldier is an expert combat diver in both conventional SCUBA systems and closed-circuit breathing apparatus. The Takavaran are qualified to jump with all of their equipment, in both day and nighttime conditions, including landings in water.
Units of the Iranian Takavar
The most famous Takavaran units are (as recorded):
- 58th Commando Division Zolfaghar (لشکر ۵۸ تکاور ذوالفقار Lashkar-e 58-e Takāvar-e Zolfaqār)
- 55th Airborne Brigade (تیپ ۵۵ هوابرد Tip-e 55-e Havābord) (Shiraz)
- 25th Commando Brigade (تیپ ۲۵ تکاور Tip-e 25-e Takāvar Momtaz) (Pasveh)
- 23rd Commando Division (لشکر ۲۳ تکاور Lashkar-e 23-e Takāvar)
- 45th Commando Brigade (تیپ ۴۵ تکاور Tip-e 45-e Takāvar)
- 99th Air Assault Group (گروه ۹۹ پدافند هوایی Gorūh-e 99-e Padāfand-e Havāyī) (Tehran)
- Central Command Guard Unit, Ground Forces Headquarter (گروهان تکاور پاسدار ستاد قرارگاه Gorūhān-e Takāvar-e Pāsdār-e Setād-e Gharārgāh) (Tehran)
- 65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade NOHED (تیپ ۶۵ نیروهای ویژه هوابرد (نوهد) Tip-e 65-e Nirūhā-ye Vīzhe-ye Havābord (NOHED))
The commandos from the Takavar are proficient with American, Russian, and Israeli weapons; but are typically outfitted with German-designed firearms, such as the HK G3 (regular and short barreled), HK-91, and HK 53 assault rifles. In some instances, alternatively they have also used the AK-47, AK-74, and AK-103 assault rifles. They have also used the MP-5 for CQB missions. Handguns are mostly Belgian-manufactured .45 automatics, but in some cases they have used SIG Sauer P226 (ZOAF, the Iranian 9mm pistol) and .357 revolvers. Snipers are often outfitted with SVD, scoped G3 and Steyr HS .50 rifles. Some of the Takavaran are also outfitted with the PKM and MG3 machine guns.