Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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"Tehran and Moscow Join Forces to Develop Advanced Drone Technology"

Tuesday 07/February/2023 - 01:03 AM
The Reference
Ahmed seif eldin

Moscow and Tehran are moving ahead with plans to construct a drone factory in Russia, according to sources aligned with the United States. The facility will have the capacity to produce at least 6,000 drones designed by Iran and will be used in the ongoing war in Ukraine. This latest development highlights the deepening military partnership between the two nations, which has alarmed the West.

A high-level Iranian delegation visited Russia in early January to visit the planned site for the factory and discuss the details of the project. Iran has already provided Moscow with hundreds of drones that have been used to hit military and civilian targets in Ukraine. The Biden administration has warned that Russia and Iran are developing a “full-fledged defense partnership” and that Moscow is training Iranian pilots to fly Russian jet fighters.

In December, the White House warned that the two countries were considering a joint drone production line in Russia, but now the talks have turned into concrete plans. The Iranian delegation was led by Brigadier General Abdollah Mehrabi, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organization, and Ghassem Damavandian, CEO of Iran’s Quds Aviation Industry.

The new factory is expected to produce a faster and more advanced version of Iran's Shahed-136 drone, which has been used by Russia in Ukraine. The drone, known as a suicide drone, has a modest amount of explosives that detonate on impact. Over time, Ukraine's air defenses have largely neutralized the threat posed by the Shahed-136, but the advanced model under development could pose new challenges.

The drone factory is part of a $1 billion deal between Russia and Iran and is just one aspect of the growing ties between the two nations. They have recently connected their interbank payment messaging systems, paving the way for all Iranian banks to transact with Russian lenders.

The US has warned that Iran has agreed to provide Moscow with ballistic missiles, but there is no indication that such missiles have been sent to Russia. The US imposed economic sanctions on Damavandian and Mehrabi in 2021, accusing them of overseeing Iran’s supply of drones to Russia and training of Russian forces to use the weapons.