Iran’s regime is investing in military drones to destabilize the Middle East, opposition warns

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, October 7, 2021—Iran’s regime is causing instability in the Middle East region through a clandestine drone program, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) revealed in a new report on Wednesday. The information, which was gathered by the network of People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) shows that the Iranian regime has invested heavily in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles to export terrorism and engage in warmongering in the region.

The report was presented to the press by Soona Samsami, the representative of the NCRI U.S., and Alireza Jafarzadeh, NCRI U.S. office deputy director.

The conference disclosed the production sites and the program’s complete cycle, from production to deployment, and from training to procurement. Satellite imagery, graphs, charts, and other visual details were presented.

According to the report, there are eight entities in Iran that are responsible for manufacturing UAVs. Some of these industries operate under the “Aviation Industries Organization” of the Ministry of Defense.

Other sections of these complexes are affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Aerospace Force, other armed forces, or under the guise of private institutions.

One of these facilities is a specialized drone unit headquartered that was launched in Semnan in 2019. “All military institutions, including the IRGC, Bassij, State Security Forces (SSF) and Army defense, are jointly active in this complex. This complex is essentially a specialized working group for the production of UAVs, and works on the design and reproduction of light and quiet UAVs,” the report states.

Another facility is Bespar Sazeh Composite, established in 2015, located in Mallar, southwest of Tehran. This company is tasked with the production of fuselage of various types of UAVs, including for the Mohajer drone.

According to the NCRI documents, the company obtains half of its material from abroad. “At present, other types of raw materials are imported from China, Turkey and South Korea. In the past, the company imported high-quality glass fibers from France and some other materials, such as high-quality resin, from Germany and the United States. However, they are no longer able to do so as a result of sanctions, and instead obtain lower-quality raw materials from China,” the report states.

The NCRI also revealed the locations of six command bases in which the IRGC maintains and uses drones. These bases are located in the provinces of Tehran, Isfahan, Kermanshah, and Khuzestan.

The production and distribution chain of military drones to terrorist groups is controlled by the Quds Force, the foreign terrorism arm of the IRGC. According to the NCRI, “[The Quds Force Intelligence Department] identifies the quantity and types of UAVs needed in accordance with the particular designs and objectives for each target country. These requests are then submitted to the Ministry of Defense.”

The Quds Force also takes care of training the regime’s proxy terrorist groups on the employment of the drones. The training takes place in the regime’s military bases in Iran.

The report provides details on the regime’s UAV operations in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and Kurdish regions.

“The regime is spending billions of dollars on its missiles and UAV programs while 80 percent of the Iranian people live under the poverty line and the budgets for health care, education and other national requirements are abysmally lower than military expenditures,” the NCRI said and emphasized that terrorism remains a key pillar of the regime’s policies and its survival strategy.

“Any dealings with the regime in Tehran by all Western sides, especially after the ascendance of [regime president Ebrahim] Raisi, must end,” the NCRI stressed. “All activities, including production, use, and research on drones and the regime’s missile program must be included in demands. Otherwise, because of its severe domestic weaknesses, the clerical regime will place more emphasis on creating regional instability in order to buy time and preserve its rule.”

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