Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps sent its new UAV unit into action against Kurdish dissident groups, in retaliation for an attack on the IRGC near the Iran's Iraqi border. Tehran was on alert in the border region near Iraq, and artillery and missile strikes were reported in Kurdish areas there.
On July 10, reports emerged that up to four IRGC members were killed in the west Iranian city of Piranshahr; Iran suspects Kurdish militants. Tehran has warned several Kurdish groups that attacks will be met with retaliation. Last year, the IRGC fired ballistic missiles at Koya, targeting two Kurdish groups. Now Iran was quick to respond. On July 1,1 Kurdish mountain villages were targeted, various reports indicating that Iran used artillery, missiles and drones.
Confirmation comes from Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, which say that Iran’s IRGC used its new UAV or drone unit to strike at the Kurds. The report claims that this shows how successful Iran’s drone technology has become. Tasnim says that the Qods Mohajer-6 or M-6, called the “Migrant” in Farsi, was used. It is a hi-tech drone that has precision-guided munitions and is supposed to be the latest generation, similar to other hi-tech drones in the West. It was unveiled in 2017 and declared operational last year.
Iran calls the targets of its drone operation “terrorist” groups based in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The Islamic republic has called on the Kurdistan region to prevent cross-border attacks for years. In the 1990s, Iran shelled areas inside Iraq and threatened to launch a major operation. Now, tensions are high again. But Iran’s real goal is not just to retaliate but also to use its latest technology. Last year it used precision ballistic missiles; now it has used drones. Iran’s policy here is not just about northern Iraq or the border area, but about projecting strength around the region by showing how it can use technology in modern war fighting. For the IRGC, it is yet another feather in its cap of successful technological achievement.