After Embargo Lifted, Iran Increases Production and Ready to Export Combat Drones

After Embargo Lifted, Iran Increases Production and Ready to Export Combat Drones
Iran Increases Production and Ready to Export Combat Drones

Taheran - Iran has increased production of military-capable drones. Iran has also been accused of providing its technology to militant groups in the Middle East, as well as to countries such as Venezuela and Sudan. Iran is also said to be trying to increase its influence in the drone market.

Last week, Iranian state media quoted the head of the military, Brigadier General Kioumars Heydari, as saying that Tehran "is ready to export weapons and military equipment to friendly countries," and its drones are already "operated far and beyond our borders." “Iran is increasingly becoming a global player in terms of drone exports.

The fact that newer drones, such as the Mohajer-6 (military-capable Iranian drone with a range of about 125 miles) are now being seen in places like the Horn of Africa, shows that countries see them as a potential game changer," said Seth Frantzman, drone expert and defense analyst. Iran's drone program is increasingly worrying its regional rivals.

Despite the sanctions, Tehran has been able to manufacture a wide range of engines for surveillance and offensive operations, to the point where Israel has targeted and sabotaged Iranian drone production facilities.

Even so, Iran still lags behind the likes of Turkey in drone production, with Ankara's Bayraktar TB2 proving decisive on battlefields from Azerbaijan to Ethiopia in recent years.

However, in August 2020, the UN embargo on arms purchases and sales by Iran ended, making it easier for the country to become a bigger player in the drone market.

On July 21, the US Department of Defense said the drone program was a key topic of conversation at a recent regional security conference in Qatar.

Since the lifting of the embargo, Iranian drones have been seen in various military theaters, including the civil war in Ethiopia, where Mohajer-6 was filmed behind Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during a visit to a military base, armed with air-to-surface missiles.

In February, the sale of the Mohajer-6 drone to Venezuela was confirmed by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, citing footage of President Nicolas Maduro standing next to him in 2020.

Venezuela's Ministry of Defense later confirmed that the country had purchased an earlier model, the Mohajer-2, since 2007, when the UN arms embargo was imposed. Iran has also supplied drones to Sudan, although Khartoum has also been hit by an arms embargo. "The Islamic Republic has long reached the level of mass production in the production of various drones including military surveillance and suicide drones and now has a very large stockpile," said Iranian military analyst Hossein Dalirian.

Iran has been able to build customer networks among proxy countries and groups, including in Yemen and Lebanon, outside of the Western sphere of influence. That policy has included releasing production to other countries, including Venezuela and Tajikistan.

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