Just days after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned that Saudi Arabia’s move towards normalization of relations with Israel would betray the Palestinian people, and suggested it would not create regional security; Tehran unveiled what it claimed to be the “longest-range drone in the world.”
The Iranian Kaman-22 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) – as it is reportedly designated – was presented along with a number of other drones during Friday’s parade that marked the anniversary of the bloody Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.
Numerous banners present in the parade threatened Israel directly.
It was also just weeks ago that the Islamic Republic unveiled another UAV that it claimed could remain airborne for up to 24 hours. In addition to its longer duration, which Tehran claimed to be 2,000 km (1,240 miles), the Mohajer-10 also reportedly has an enhanced flight range and larger payload of up to 300 kg (661 pounds) – double the capacity of the Mohajer-6.
Iran – a Drone Powerhouse?
The United States has accused Iran of supplying the Mohajer-6, along with other UAVs to Russia for its war in Ukraine. Tehran has denied the allegations that it is providing lethal aid to Moscow and said that any drones used in the ongoing conflict were supplied to the Kremlin prior to Russia’s unprovoked invasion in February 2022.
“Our forces ensure security in the region and the Persian Gulf,” President Ebrahim Raisi said at Friday’s parade in the capital Tehran. “We can teach the people of the region that resistance is today’s way. What forces the enemy to retreat is not submission and wavering, but resistance.”
It would be very difficult for Iran to make similar denials should the Mohajer-10 or Kaman-22 be employed in the conflict. However, it would appear that rather than these being developed to strike Kyiv or other Ukrainian cities, Tehran sees Tel Aviv as its primary target.
As Reuters reported, last month Iranian media released a video showing the Mohajer-6 among other military hardware with the caption “prepare you shelters” in both Persian and Hebrew, a clear message to Israel.
Friday’s display of drones also followed a fresh wave of sanctions on several individuals and entities allegedly linked to Tehran’s drone program. That included seven people and four companies in China, Russia, and Turkey that U.S. officials allege are connected with the development of Iran’s drone program.
Iran Condemned Saudi Arabia’s Closer Ties With Israel
The United States has been seeking to broker a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel, a goal long sought by Jerusalem that could have a dramatic impact in the Middle East. Israel has already normalized relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan.
Moreover, even as Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic also remain regional rivals – backing different sides in the ongoing conflict in Yemen – Tehran has condemned any move that would result in the normalization with Israel.
“The initiation of a relationship between the Zionist regime and any country in the region, if it is with the aim to bring security for the Zionist regime, will certainly not do so,” Raisi told a news conference as he attended the UN General Assembly in New York. “We believe that a relationship between regional countries and the Zionist regime would be a stab in the back of the Palestinian people and of the resistance of the Palestinians.”
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.