memri
October 12, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10257

Iranian Regime Mouthpiece 'Kayhan': 'Hundreds Of Iranian Combat Drones Were Exported To Russia – Just As Venezuela Benefited From Iranian Drones In The Past... For Some Time Now, Iranian Drones Have Been Operating Against NATO In Ukrainian Skies'

October 12, 2022
Iran, Russia | Special Dispatch No. 10257

While Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian has denied to his European counterparts that Iran is selling Iranian-made combat drones to Russia for use in its war on Ukraine and against NATO, the regime mouthpiece Kayhan daily is boasting of Iran's sale of these drones to Russia.

Kayhan: The Americans "Have Understood It Correctly – Iran Is Exporting Military Equipment To The Second Most Powerful Military In The World – The Russian Federation"

Iranian Foreign Minister Abdollahian has on several occasions denied to his European counterparts that Iran is selling Iranian weapons, especially combat drones, to Russia for use in the war on Ukraine. On October 9, 2022, he stressed to Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski that Iran had not supplied any weapons whatsoever to be used in the war in Ukraine, and that Iran's fundamental position was against arming either side in the war in Ukraine.[1] Two days earlier, on October 7, he told Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto that "in spite of several countries' military aid to Ukraine, we have not and will not send weapons to Russia for use in its war on Ukraine because we believe that the solution to this crisis is political, and any military support to the sides will hinder the chance to arrive at peace."[2] Prior to that, in an October 6 phone conversation with his Irish counterpart Simon Coveney, Abdollahian vehemently denied rumors about Iranian sales of drones and arms to Russia for use in the war on Ukraine.[3] Also, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani officially clarified, on October 10, that "Iran is not party to the war in Ukraine," adding: "We have given a clear answer in this matter, and have not and will not accept accusations regarding it."[4]

However, in a September 24, 2022 article titled "Fight [And] God Will Help," the Iranian regime mouthpiece Kayhan acknowledged, for the first time by an Iranian source, that Iran has "for some time" been providing Russia with Iranian-made combat drones, valued at $5.6 billion – and had begun doing so "under the eyes of the U.S." which can do nothing about it.

The article went on to state that the Americans have understood, correctly, that Iran intends to sell Iranian Shahed 129 and Shahed 191 combat drones to Russia, and that Russian forces have already been trained to operate them. Boasting about Iran's sale of Iran-made weapons to "the second most powerful military in the world," as well as Western reports of damage being inflicted by Iranian drones on Western forces, the article quoted former U.S. CENTCOM commander Gen. Kenneth Frank McKenzie as saying that the U.S. had lost air supremacy in the region due to the presence of Iranian drones.

The following are the main points of the Kayhan article:

"[The fact that] Iran [has become] independent in manufacturing the weapons it needs has been so [significant] that when the UN arms embargo on Iran expired [in October 2020], the countries that had banned the sale of the simplest military and security equipment to Iran, such as barbed wire for fences, now fear the export of Iran's advanced weaponry to other countries...


Shahed 129 drone and Iranian-made bombs (Source: Fars, Iran)


Shahed 191 drone (Source:Itc.ua, October 10, 2022)

"In July 2022, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated at a press conference about Iran exporting combat drones to Russia that 'our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs, on an immediate timeline.' The information cited by the U.S. was based on U.S. satellites images of one of Iran's military bases in [the city of] Kashan.

"The images were almost clear; Iran openly displayed the Shahed 129 and Shahed 191 to the Russian delegation, and saw no reason to hide it. They [the Americans] understood it correctly; Iran exported military equipment to the second most powerful military in the world – the Russian Federation.

"Some time later, CNN stated that 'Russian forces have begun training to operate Iranian combat UAVs.' Of course, this news channel was too late in revealing [this], since at that point, the training of Russian forces was almost concluded.

"This incredible occurrence taking place before the eyes of U.S. authorities forced them to respond. As usual, the U.S. State Department threatened Iran with sanctions, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warned Iran against exporting its drones: 'We would advise Iran to not – to not do that. We think it's a really, really bad idea. And I'll leave that at that.' But in Iran, no one cares what the U.S. Secretary of Defense says, or what White House officials say. Hundreds of Iranian combat drones were exported to Russia, just as Venezuela benefited from Iranian drones in the past, and an assembly line for manufacturing Iranian drones was inaugurated in Tajikistan.

"In front of America's eyes, Iran took the first steps toward attaining the capability to export its drones, valued at $5.6 billion. For some time now, Iranian drones have been operating against NATO in Ukrainian skies.

"On September 17, 2022, the American newspaper Wall Street Journal reported that 'Russia has inflicted serious damage on Ukrainian forces with recently introduced Iranian drones.'[5] Rodion Kulagin, one of the Ukrainian army's ground force commanders, told the journalist that Iranian drones are difficult to intercept; he said that 'in a single unit under his command, so far, these drones have destroyed two large howitzer cannons and two armed vehicles.'[6] This Ukrainian general asked the U.S. and its allies for help dealing with the Iranian drones, not knowing that U.S. commanders have already lost sleep over these drones.

"Cam McMillan, an artillery officer in the U.S. Army who served in Iraq, described his experience encountering Iranian drones on the American website '1945' as follows: 'The Shahed-136 is a kamikaze drone that carries an explosive payload and flies directly into its target. These kamikaze drones were what kept me and my friends up at night in Iraq.'[7]

"The Imam's [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's] message to the army commanders [during the Iran-Iraq War] in September 1980 was the first decree on the path to nullifying [the power of] sanctions: 'Go and fight, God will help and put things in order. Nothing will happen [to you].' And so we fought, and God helped. Now, in September 2022, the Islamic Republic has succeeded, with its combination of military aircraft and combat drones, in securing safe skies for Iran, and a strong arm for the resistance front.

"On April 20, Gen. [Kenneth] Frank McKenzie, at the time commander of U.S. CENTCOM (the central command of the U.S. Army of Terror in the Middle East and North Africa) said at a meeting of the U.S. Congress Military Committee [sic, a reference to the House Armed Services Committee[8]] regarding Iran's aerial deterrent power in the Middle East region: 'For the first time since the Korean War, we are operating without complete air superiority.'"

 

[1] IRNA (Iran), October 9, 2022.

[2] ILNA (Iran), October 7, 2022.

[3] ISNA (Iran), October 6, 2022.

[4] IRNA (Iran), October 10, 2022.

[5] Wsj.com/articles/russias-use-of-iranian-kamikaze-drones-creates-new-dangers-for-ukrainian-troops-11663415140, September 17, 2022.

[6] The Wall Street Journal report stated: "In his brigade’s operational area alone, the Iranian drones—which usually fly in pairs and then slam into their targets—have destroyed two 152-mm self-propelled howitzers, two 122-mm self-propelled howitzers, as well as two BTR armored infantry vehicles, he said." WSJ.com/articles/russias-use-of-iranian-kamikaze-drones-creates-new-dangers-for-ukrainian-troops-11663415140, September 17, 2022.

[7] 19fortyfive.com/2022/09/i-have-seen-irans-drones-up-close-they-could-help-russia-fight-ukraine, September 19, 2022.

[8] Docs.house.gov/meetings/AS/AS00/20210420/112498/HHRG-117-AS00-Wstate-McKenzieK-20210420.pdf.

Share this Report:

Help Fight Extremism - Support MEMRI

MEMRI is a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible and kept strictly confidential.