An article by the leading American international relations magazine made a reference to decade-old sanctions imposed on Iranian drone manufacturers like the Quds Aviation and Aerospace Industries Organization (IAIO) and the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries Corporation (HESA).
“For years, the United States has imposed sanctions against Iran’s military complex and manufacturing base, including entities like IAIO, HESA… Nevertheless, Iran’s aerospace sector and drone industry have continued to expand and thrive,” Eric Lob and Edward Riehle wrote.
The article said, “Iran has manufactured and operated military drones since the Iran-Iraq War in the mid-1980s. With over thirty-three models, Iran’s highly developed, sophisticated military drone complex comprises one of the four pillars of its security strategy and force structure, complementing its missile technology, proxy forces, and cyberwarfare.”
“Drones have increasingly offered an asymmetric advantage to Iran,” it pointed out.
“(Iranian) drones have also enabled Iran to project power and earn profits, showcase technology and enhance prestige, strengthen alliances in the Middle East and beyond,” the US article added.
Earlier this month, the US imposed sanctions against six executives and board members of Iran’s Quds Aviation Industries under the false pretext that the Islamic Republic had provided Russia with the UAVs to be used by Moscow against Ukraine.
The Islamic Republic has, on repeated occasions, roundly rejected Washington’s allegations. Last December, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani said Ukrainian officials had failed to provide any evidence for their claim that Russia was using Iranian drones in the Ukraine war.
Russia has similarly denied deploying any Iranian UAVs in the war on Ukraine.
The National Interest article acknowledged that, “Western sanctions have been unable to prevent Iran from becoming a prominent player in the military drone market and sharing drone technology with partners inside and outside of the Middle East. ”
The article also said that Iranian drones are less expensive than their “Western counterparts and have proven to be effective on the battlefield.”
Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said last month that the Islamic Republic is currently among the world’s top five powers in the unmanned aerial vehicles industry. He said Iran’s drones can carry out various missions with great accuracy and flight endurance.