|Photo by: REUTERS/Stringer Iran|
Iran admits exporting drone tech to Venezuela
By JOANNA PARASZCZUK
Official claims military exports are a result of significant advances in avionic technology leading to drone manufacturing.
Iran’s Deputy Minister of Science, Research and Technology said on Monday that
the Islamic Republic is exporting its domestically made drones and UAV
technologies to a number of countries including Syria and
Mohammad Mehdinejad-Nouri told students at Iran’s Babol
Noshirvani University of Technology in the northern province of Mazandaran that
the exports were a result of the significant advances Iran has made in drone
technology, which have made the Islamic Republic a leader in designing and
operating unmanned aircraft, Iran’s ISNA news agency reported.
come a day after the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps aerospace
division, Brig.-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, said that Iran had decoded data from a
downed US stealthy R-Q-170 drone and also had captured or obtained more than one
US ScanEagle drone as well as a RQ- 7 Shadow drone.
claimed that Iran has made great strides in UAV development, boasting that the
Ayoub drone Hezbollah flew over Israeli airspace earlier this year was in fact a
decade-old Iranian model.
Meanwhile, Venezuela’s stateowned CA Venezolana
de Industria Militares (CAVIM) company announced on Monday that it had presented
the result of several projects, including a localized version of Iran’s
Mohajer-2 drone, the same type as that flown by Hezbollah and by Bashar Assad’s
forces in Syria.
CAVIM’s announcement came after Venezuela’s President
Hugo Chavez admitted in June that Caracas is building UAVs with Iranian
assistance as well as with help from Russia and China.
Mohajer-2 drone, a reconnaissance and surveillance UAV with a range of around
50km. and an approximate endurance of 90 minutes, were reported in June to be
operating from CAVIM’s Maracay factory in north-central Venezuela.
on information taken from photographs of the Venezuelan drone, known locally as
a Sant Arpia, Caracas appears to have slightly modified the
Iran’s supplying of military technology and arms to its
proxies and allies is a crucial part of its asymmetric warfare doctrine,
designed to allow it to combat a technologically superior enemy such as the US
In this light, the growing military ties between Iran and
Venezuela – Tehran’s strongest Latin American ally and a gateway for both itself
and its proxy Hezbollah – have raised concerns in both the US and
In August, Spanish newspaper ABC reported that Venezuela had
transferred at least one F-16 fighter to Iran so that country’s air force could
test its antiaircraft radar systems ahead of a possible Israeli air strike on
Iran’s nuclear facilities.
While Iran’s extended reach in Latin America
could pose a threat to US national security, Tehran’s strategies in the region
could also threaten Jewish and Israeli interests.
Analysts say that
Iran’s proxy Hezbollah uses Venezuela’s Margarita Island free trade zone as a
major financing and fundraising center, and has set up cells there.
recent report by the US House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on
Oversight, Investigations and Management that examined the increased presence of
Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah in Latin America found that Iran’s
economic partnerships in the region, particularly with Venezuela, have helped
Tehran circumvent sanctions.
The House Committee’s report included
testimony from analyst Douglas Farah, who said that a 2011 Univision
documentary, La Amenaza Irani (“The Iranian Threat”) showed Hezbollah training
Venezuelan militias, with weapons and ammunition provided by the Venezuelan
Farah said that the aim of Iran’s presence in the region is
twofold, to develop the capacity and capability to “wreak havoc” in Latin
America and possibly the US, should Tehran deem that necessary to ensure the
survival of its nuclear program, and to expand its ability to circumvent
Farah’s testimony also noted that Iran is providing financial
support to a defense academy in Warnes, Bolivia, which trains soldiers from the
ALBA bloc countries (Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and the
Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the
Iran’s defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi, attended the
inauguration of the school, which teaches an asymmetric military doctrine
developed by Jorge Verstrynge, who has openly praised Osama bin Laden and
al-Qaida’s suicide bombing tactics.
Meanwhile, Iran’s links with
Venezuela are set to deepen.
On Tuesday, Iran announced that the first of
four Aframax oil tanker ordered by Venezuela would be delivered within the next
few months, and last month, Iran said it was investing $200 million in oil
refinery projects in the Latin American country.