Iran has begun using its advanced armed UAV technology to open the doors of China and Russia as allies, US intelligence experts report. This new “pivot to the East” policy was developed inside the close circle of the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini’s advisers. Tehran has already signed a deal with Moscow for the co-production of 6,000 high-tech UAVs – and not just for the use of Russian forces in the Ukraine war. Iran is gearing up to meet a potentially approaching US-Israeli military offensive against its nuclear program.
This is Tehran’s take on the frequent visits exchanged of late between top American and Israel officials that also embrace regional powers. The IDF chief of staff Lt Gen Herzi Halevi paid a secrecy-shrouded trip to Bahrain last week to confer with his US and regional counterparts. Last month, US National security adviser Jake Sullivan followed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, were in Israel. While voicing disapproval of the Netanyahu government’s judicial overhaul plan, they were in Jerusalem primarily to discuss the means of putting a stop to Iran’s advance towards a nuclear weapon. President Joe Biden said Israel was regarded as “a friend” despite its right-wing policies.
Iran has found a willing customer in Moscow, which is rushing forward plans for a decisive spring offensive in Ukraine. On Jan 5, Iranian officials and their Russian hosts settled on a joint project, a new plant for the production of 6,000 advanced kamikaze drones in the Russian town of Yelabuga, 960 km east of Moscow. That the deal was signed and sealed in a single day denoted months of meticulous preparation at a time that Tehran also entertains fears of an imminent US- Israel attack.
Russia is in peak preparation for its spring offensive in Ukraine. As soon as the snows melt, 300,000 new military recruits and 1,000 tanks will be hurled into action. Moscow is therefore in urgent need of a large number of Iran’s new super drones. whereas Beijing is equally keen on a similar deal with Tehran for the co-prfoduction of new Iranian UAVs to power is plans to invade Taiwan.
Relations between the two powers, Russia and China, with the United States, have hit a nadir amid soaring military tensions. Iran is in the same boat – but also broke – and sees in its “pivot to the East” a good chance to win two powerful allies as well as financing for developing its most advanced weapons.