By subsidence analysis on eighteen surface sections and 6 wells, which cover large part of the Iberian Basin (E Spain) and which are marked by high-resolution stratigraphy of the Permian, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, we quantify the complex Permian and Mesozoic tectonic subsidence history of the basin. Backstripping analysis of the available high resolution and high surface density of the database allows to quantify spatial and temporal patterns of tectonically driven subsidence to a much higher degree than previous studies. The sections and wells have also been forward modelled with a new 'automated' modelling technique, with unlimited number of stretching phases, in order to quantify variations in timing and magnitude of rifting. It is demonstrated that the tectonic subsidence history in the Iberian Basin is characterized by pulsating periods of stretching intermitted by periods of relative tectonic quiescence and thermal subsidence. The number of stretching phases appears to be much larger than found by earlier studies, showing a close match with stretching phases found in other parts of the Iberian Peninsula and allowing a clear correlation with discrete phases in the opening of the Tethys and Atlantic.