Connect with us


US intelligence analysts warn against Iran’s new ‘UAV diplomacy’

Washington designated a network of individuals and entities across four countries on Tuesday for their support of Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and military aircraft industry as US concerns grow over Tehran’s expanding drone threats.

The new sanctions come as senior US intelligence officials race to dispel Iranian claims that it is not supporting Russia in its war on Ukraine. Intel officials also want to show the international community, including the Europeans and Arabs, that the burgeoning Russia-Iran defense relationship could threaten them.

For all the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

In a recent off-camera briefing with Al Arabiya English and one other outlet, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) officials and analysts explained the correlation between Iranian drones used to target American troops in Iraq and those used by Russia to kill civilians inside Ukraine.

“This is the first US attempt to show Iran is helping Russia, and this is to combat [Russian and Iranian] disinformation,” said one senior DIA analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity like others during the briefing.

Iran has repeatedly denied providing weapons to Russia, including this week when Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called on the US to provide proof.

European capitals and the UN have all heard US allegations but have urged Washington to provide proof of Iran supplying drones to Moscow.

In an updated and declassified report, the DIA produced a visual comparison of the UAVs used by Russia in Ukraine and Iranian UAVs used to attack US and partner forces in the Middle East. According to the DIA, the debris and components from Ukraine were consistent with the systems displayed at military expos and other venues in the Middle East.

DIA analysts showed a Shahed-131 recovered after an attack in Iraq’s Karbala in 2021. Alongside the Shahed-131 was the debris from different Shahed-131s used in Ukraine last Fall. The DIA analysts pointed to the satellite navigation antennas that were identical in both, as well as the honeycomb-like mesh structure used inside the drones. The honeycomb-like design is an Iranian signature, as is the wing stabilizer in drones used in Iraq to target US troops and in Ukraine.

The engine components of drones in Iraq and Ukraine are identical, including the rotary engine, compartment cover, engine throttle body, relay board, processing module case cover, and processing module case.

It is worth noting that Iran carried out and publicly claimed an attack on Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq in September 2022. The debris of the UAVs used in that attack removes doubt that the origin of the drones was Iranian. The DIA said that the same UAV components in that attack and a separate Russian attack in Ukraine around the same time led to the conclusion that both of these systems were Iranian.

Asked what route was being used to transfer drones from Iran to Russia, intel analysts said transit through the Caspian Sea was now the preferred method.

“Iran is sending drones and support to produce drones inside of Russia,” one analyst told Al Arabiya English while highlighting satellite imagery that showed a drone production facility being built in Russia.

Iran has advisors on the ground and is sending material support for the drones to be produced inside Russia instead of shipping already-built UAVs from Tehran to Moscow.

Tuesday’s sanctions on Iran’s drone network targeted three individuals in Iran, two individuals and one entity in China, three entities in Russia and two individuals in Turkey.

Iran’s UAV procurement, development, and proliferation destabilize the Middle East region and support Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine,” the State Department said.

Recovered Shahed-131 wing stabilizers and engines at the Defense Intelligence Agency. (DIA)

Recovered Shahed-131 wing stabilizers and engines at the Defense Intelligence Agency. (DIA)

Over the summer, the US, Albania, France, the UK, and Ukraine called on the UN Security Council to probe the Russian use of Iranian UAVs in Ukraine.

Iranian UAV diplomacy

But what is more concerning is the future of Iran’s drone program and its ties with Russia, which a DIA analyst said was transitioning from a purely transactional relationship to a true partnership.

“The groundwork is being set [for such a partnership],” the analyst said.

The danger of the Iranian drones being used in Russia is that Tehran has a battlefield to use as a testing facility for what works and what doesn’t.

On the flip side, the threat is relative. “We’ve gotten better, and we’ve observed to see what works, too,” the analyst said.

However, the risk for Gulf and other regional countries lies in the “new way” Iran operates with low-cost, easy-to-put-together drones and how they continuously innovate their UAV systems.

“Does the region have the proper defense capabilities to defend against dozens of drones,” the analyst asked.

More recovered parts of Iranian-made Shahed drones on display at the Defense Intelligence Agency. (DIA)

More recovered parts of Iranian-made Shahed drones on display at the Defense Intelligence Agency. (DIA)

He was referring to a new method used by the Russians to deploy multiple drones at once into Ukraine. Previously, Iran or Iran-backed militias would fire one or two drones at US or allied forces in Iraq or Syria. The new method could be the future of drone wars, intel analysts said.

As for the Iranian president’s claims that Iran was not sending drones to Russia, the senior analyst said the proof was displayed for think tanks, government officials from over 20 countries, and reporters to see. “This directly counters that [Iran’s denial], and this is the only place in the world that there is an Iranian drone intact for all to see,” the same analyst said.

With crippling sanctions preventing the Iranian regime from proper economic and financial relationships with other countries, it could turn to exporting and selling UAV technologies. “This time, Iran helped Russia, but it could be someone else in the future,” the analyst warned.

Read more:

Pentagon reaffirms US commitment to strong military ties with Saudi Arabia

US bolsters military ties with Armenia, irking Russia

Original Article

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Almarai signs an MoU with the Authority of People with Disabilities to train and employ them.

Almarai Company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Authority of People with
Disabilities to train, qualify and employ persons with disabilities. This came on the sidelines of
the First International Labor Market Conference, organized by the Ministry of Human Resources
and Social Development on December 13 – 14, 2023, at the King Abdulaziz Convention Center
in Riyadh.

The memorandum was signed by the Chief Human Resources Officer of Almarai Company,
Fahad Mohammed Aldrees, and the CEO of the Authority of People with Disabilities, Dr.
Hisham bin Muhammad Al-Haidari.

“This agreement comes within the framework of the company’s social responsibility program, as
Almarai employs more than 500 people with disabilities, which is one of the most suitable work
environments for them.” Fahad Aldrees said. Pointing out that Almarai has the “Silent Line”,
which is one of its production lines that is designated for people with hearing disabilities.

It is worth mentioning that Almarai supports over 300 charity organizations annually across the
kingdom that operate in the field of community development.

Continue Reading


Central Phuket Shopping Center Prepared Surprises This Christmas & New Year 2024

Central Phuket Shopping Center, the luxury lifestyle landmark o Phuket, invites everyone to celebrate Christmas and New Year 2024 in The Great Celebration 2024 Campaign. Joining hands with global partner ‘The Pokémon Company’, Central Phuket bring over Pokémon, the super cute character popular around the world, for all locals and international fans. The special campaign launch presents a procession of cute ‘Pikachu’ alongside with the giant Christmas tree for the first time in Thailand.
This December, Central Phuket prepared many activities for shoppers when visiting Phuket! Experience the “Surprise of the Day” with free Cotton Candy for our little ones, a sweet and fluffy treat, a special gift from Central Phuket. Bring your kids to enjoy this sweet treat every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of December. Don’t miss the Christmas Carol that
everyone loves, little Santas spread freshness by singing together in the Christmas Carol activity. Plus, Christmas Live Music, the festival of joy is back! Celebrate Christmas in a luxurious and classy atmosphere, enjoying the music that will bring us joy. Also, there will be Christmas Troop, Santa Claus is coming to town! The Santa troop will spread happiness throughout Central Phuket. Lastly, Cake Workshop, workshop activity with Chef Sebastien’s IRON CHEF Thailand teaching how to make Christmas Vanilla Cake. A special activity for the Christmas season. Moreover, Central Phuket provides special promotion exclusively for international tourists throughout December 23 – January 24 including:

1) Get Free! Tourist welcome discount package valued up to THB 10,000.
2) Receive THB 100 Gift voucher when spending up to THB 2,500 per receipt.
3) Get to buy ‘Happy Holiday Collections’ special price: Pokémon 2-in-1 pillow blanket, tumbler, travel bag set, and keychain. Visit redemption counter for the price.
4) Exclusive for Grab Users get discount code up to 25% off* when traveling to participating Central Shopping Centers.
5) Receive famous Elephant Pants when spending over THB 5,000 in shopping center.
6) Get Free! H&M THB 100 gift voucher when booking any accommodations in Phuket with Agoda. Terms and conditions apply.

Central Phuket is a home of global luxury brands such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Saint Laurent. Exclusive for this season, Louis Vuitton launches a pop-up store located at Central Phuket. The design is inspired by the story of Damier or Checkerboard, the brand’s signature pattern. This classic pattern was created by Louis
Vuitton and his son Georges Vuitton in 1888 and has always been part of the design of Maison’s iconic items and concepts. Find clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories for men at the Pop-up Store from Louis Vuitton at Central Phuket, 1st floor, from today until 31 March 2024. And with over 500 renowned fashion brands and lifestyle shops ranging from local to international
well-known brands covering all categories, international shoppers will be able to find what they are looking for in Central Phuket.
Central Phuket is located in the heart of one of the world’s most famous beach cities, Phuket and await to welcome both locals and international visitors this holiday. Also, don’t miss one of the most joyful New Year Count Down events in Phuket city at Central Phuket Shopping Center on December 31, 2023.

Continue Reading


Saudi Fund for Development Provides $100 Million Development Loan for the Rogun Hydropower Project

The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, signed a new development loan agreement with the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Kahhorzoda Fayziddin Sattor, through which SFD is contributing $100 million USD to fund the Rogun Hydropower Project, a landmark initiative that will enhance energy,
food, and water security, and foster sustainable development in the country. The signing was attended by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Waleed Al-Reshiadan, and the Ambassador of Tajikistan to Saudi Arabia, H.E. Akram Karimi, alongside other officials from both sides. SFD’s development loan will help contribute towards a more sustainable and equitable food and water future for Tajikistan, while driving the country’s energy transition and climate resilience. The project aims to contribute to the national energy security and will help advance sustainable
development in the Republic of Tajikistan, by providing the renewable electricity supply to meet local demand and expand electricity production domestically and regionally, producing 3600 MW of energy. The loan agreement will also finance the construction of a 335-meter-tall dam, which will enhance irrigation capabilities and bolster agricultural activities across the country. Additionally, the project will improve flood protection through the construction of four hydraulic
tunnels for diversion and drainage. It will also provide clean and drinkable water to people through desalination, and help advance socio-economic development, by creating both direct and indirect jobs.
Importantly, this project also supports the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); specifically, SDG 2, Zero Hunger, SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy.
On this occasion, the CEO of SFD, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, said: “Today’s signing marks a major milestone in our shared journey towards a more sustainable future. With this landmark development loan, SFD is not just supporting Tajikistan’s energy future, but also its sustainable development and the well-being of its people. The Rogun Hydropower Project is a beacon of
hope for a bright future that is powered by clean, renewable energy. It will propel Tajikistan towards environmental stewardship and prosperity.”

Continue Reading