​​​​​​​Iran Shows Increasing Confidence In Unrestricted Drone Program

(New York, N.Y.) — On Saturday, the Iranian regime used its state-controlled media to showcase an underground military base where Tehran says 100 weaponized drones are stored. Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi boasted to the reporter that “the drones of Islamic Republic of Iran's armed forces are the region's most powerful” and Iran’s “capability to upgrade drones is unstoppable.” Within the last month, the Iranian regime has also highlighted the advancements in its drone program, announcing a new military drone production line in Tajikistan, the first production line outside of Iran’s borders.  

Tehran has relied to a greater degree on its drone program to bolster its military and equip its terrorist proxies throughout the region in the 20 months since the international arms embargo imposed on Iran under U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 was allowed to sunset as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis, and Iran-backed Iraqi Shia militias have all benefitted from Iran’s advancing drone technologies and possess drones either manufactured in Iran or based on Iranian models. Those drones have been used to launch armed attacks targeting U.S. military personnel, commercial vessels in international waters, and civilians and critical infrastructure in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. In October 2021, the Biden Administration told reporters that Iran’s UAV program had already “changed the balance of power in the Middle East.”  

In May 2020, a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives urged “increased diplomatic action by the United States to renew the expiring United Nations arms embargo against Iran.” Subsequent to that letter, U.S. efforts to extend the arms embargo were vetoed by Russia and China in the U.N. Security Council.  

Nevertheless, the U.S. continues to negotiate with Iran through European intermediaries to revive the JCPOA, despite the risks that sanctions relief will help fuel its drone proliferation. The European Union’s own arms embargo on Iran expires in October 2023. To date, U.S. and European officials have offered no plan as to how to counter Iran’s drone program after these problematic sunsets. 

To read UANI’s resource The Iranian Drone Threat, please click here.

To read UANI’s resource The Iran Nuclear Deal: What’s Wrong With It And What Can We Do Now?, please click here.