Iran tests drones as US fears possible supply from Russia

DUBAI, Aug 24 (Reuters) – Iran on Wednesday launched exercises to test its combat and reconnaissance drones, state media reported, amid concerns about the United States over the possible supply of unmanned aircraft of Iranian manufacture to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine.

The two-day war games will involve 150 drones and cover Iran’s Gulf Coast and most of its territory, state television reported. The country’s air defense and “electronic warfare” capabilities will also be tested against fake enemy drones.

Iran and the regional forces it backs have increasingly relied on drones in recent years in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.

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The United States said earlier this month that Russian officials were being trained in Iran as part of a drone transfer deal between the two countries and accused Tehran of planning to supply hundreds of planes without pilot in Moscow for use in Ukraine. Read more

Iran’s foreign minister denied the claim last month, including in a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart. Read more

Iran has developed a large domestic arms industry despite international sanctions and embargoes that prevent it from importing many weapons.

Western military analysts say Iran sometimes overstates its weapons capabilities, although concerns over its ballistic missiles contributed to Washington in 2018 quitting Tehran’s 2015 nuclear pact with world powers.

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Reporting by Dubai Newsroom Editing by Bernadette Baum

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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