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US government departments warn about Iranian drone program

Tehran’s unmanned aerial vehicles destabilize the Middle East, the agencies say.

An Iranian Saegheh-2 drone on display at the Eqtedar 40 defense exhibition in Tehran, Feb. 5, 2019. Credit: Hossein Mersadi/Wikimedia Commons.
An Iranian Saegheh-2 drone on display at the Eqtedar 40 defense exhibition in Tehran, Feb. 5, 2019. Credit: Hossein Mersadi/Wikimedia Commons.

Four U.S. federal executive departments—State, Commerce, Justice and the Treasury—issued a warning on June 9 to “alert persons and businesses globally” about the Islamic Republic’s drone program.

“Iran’s procurement, development and proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is an increasing threat to international peace and security,” the departments stated. There is a “need to take appropriate steps to avoid or prevent any activities that would support the further development of Iran’s UAV program,” they added.

Tehran’s drone program “destabilizes the Middle East region and beyond,” the departments stated. “Over the past 10 years, Iran has increased its inventory of both armed and unarmed UAVs, whose low cost, simplicity of production and ease of use make them appealing to entities and countries of concern to which Iran may transfer them.”

These include Russia, Tajikistan and the Houthis in Yemen, per the departments. They identified a variety of electronics and guidance equipment as items that Iran seeks.

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