From unveiling new drone to sending a military delegation to Russia for further cooperation, Iran has been actively improving its indigenous military capabilities in response to US increasing presence in the Persian Gulf.
Iranian state media IRNA reported this Tuesday that the Islamic Republic successfully unveiled a new drone called “Mohajer 10,” with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi as well as the defense minister and senior military commanders being present in the unveiling ceremony.
As the report noted, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has new and unprecedented capabilities. It can, for example, fly in a range of 2,000 kilometers at an altitude of 7,000 meters and has a flight endurance of 24 hours. The domestically-manufactured drone can also carry various armaments with a maximum bomb payload of over 650 pounds, and is capable of flying at speeds up to 130 mph, outfitted with surveillance and electronic warfare capabilities
The Iranian drone was unveiled during a ceremony this Tuesday when Iranian officials marked the country’s Defense Industry Day in Tehran. During the past few years, Iran has been rapidly developing its drone program and is now considered one of the most powerful and most advanced countries in the drone industry.
This is while Iran has been under heavy sanctions in this very area, especially from the United States.
In addition to imposing sanctions on Iran’s drone program, US officials routinely accuse Tehran of providing Russia with several different types of drones to use in Ukraine, allegations that Iran denies categorically. The new Mohajer 10 doesn’t resemble any of those drones, but it does look similar in shape and size to the American MQ-9 Reaper, one of the most advanced drones in the world.
What has surprised Washington is that although Mohajer 10 resembles MQ-9 Reaper, there is no obvious indication that Iran has ever gotten its hands on one of the General Atomics MQ-9s to be able to reverse-engineer it, worrying US officials to believe that Iran is now so capable in producing new drones indigenously that it can even match US high-tech in this field.
Iran and Russia will extend military cooperation
Also this week, the Russian news agency TASS reported that an Iranian military delegation arrived in Moscow on Monday to discuss cooperation between Iranian and Russian ground forces.
Invited by his Russian counterpart, Iran’s Army Ground Forces Commander Kioumars Haydari visited several military technology and education centers and held meetings with officials from the Russian armed forces and the Ministry of Defense to discuss extending cooperation.
Last week, Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergey Shoigu also visited Iran’s military stand at the Army 2023 Forum, an event where Russia’s leading defense companies displayed some 1,500 of their products. Russia and Iran are both under Western economic sanctions. This has made the two countries to forge closer relations in military and other areas, especially since the start of war in Ukraine back in February 2022.
Iran’s recent military build-up, a reaction to unjustified increase in US presence in the region
Despite no formal statement from Iranian official to admit the matter, it is very likely that Iran’s recent military build-pup is in fact a response to the increasing presence of the US in the Persian Gulf region. The US military has discreetly been dispatched over 6,000 troops to the region in the past weeks, a move that can ignite and escalate tensions and trigger debates on regional stability.
To read between the lines, in was on August 7 that a formidable contingent of over 3,000 US sailors and marines entered the Red Sea aboard two imposing warships. A few weeks later in mid-July, the US military also readied some 2,500 light-infantry troops for deployment to Iraq and Syria in mid-July. This is while there is no rational reason for such heavy presence of US troops in these countries, considering the fact that ISIS attacks in both Syria and Iraq have greatly declined by 68 percent and 80 percent respectively since 2018.