‘Stealth drone technology – ace in Tehran hands’
The Iranian military has released a video, apparently showing the successful maiden flight of an advanced drone.
RT:Three years ago Barack Obama called on Iran to return the crashed drone. The Iranians told the US leader that the drone breached its airspace and refused to hand it over. Was that a serious loss of face for the US?
Kaveh Afra-siabi: To begin with, this drone was intercepted 140 miles deep inside Iranian territory. Obviously the Iranians had every justification to hold on to it and then tried to successfully decode the sensor data and be able to copy it and showcase it as we have seen in the video today. Iran has a very developed drone capability and has already manufactured a number of high-tech drones for the dual purpose of combat and surveillance. In today’s context of the US trying to leverage Iran vis-à-vis the nuclear negotiations and so on, this is an important and impressive victory for Iran that reflects an enhanced capability to monitor the movement of military missiles in the region, particularly in the Persian Gulf region. This stealth technology has the ability to deflect radar and to penetrate air defense. Iran’s ability to integrate the cutting-edge US stealth technology in its drone arsenal is a major plus for it and its deterrence strategy vis-à-vis US power in the region.
RT:Do you think Iran did it as much to embarrass the US, or so they have done it to show their own military capabilities?
KA: I don’t think so. That goes beyond that. It goes to the issue of military balance in the region and the very fluid US-Iran competition and so forth. As I said, it falls in the overall Iranian deterrence and counterforce strategy.And it diminishes the risk of military confrontation given the fact that Iran has now an enhanced drone capability… It in fact helps the negotiations and so forth by diminishing the military card.
RT:Could this fact inflame this situation politically particularly when there are very sensitive topics on the table concerning nuclear development?
KA: I don’t think so. I think it has an opposite effect of enhancing the potential and all the discussions that are in favor of resolving this NSA and nuclear crisis which hopefully will be resolved in the very near future before the November 24th deadline. But there is an issue of military leverage that in the past the US has used against Iran. This particular issue has a naturalizing effect and enhances Iran’s hand with an ace that Iran inevitably uses, indirectly of course, with respect to unwanted consequences of the failure in the talks given the fact that some hawkish members of the US Congress, and so on, are talking about using military threats against Iran etc.
RT:How do you think the US will respond to this?
KA: We know that the US tried very hard to get this back even there are unconfirmed reports of contingency plans to destroy this UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and they didn’t materialize because of Iran’s preparedness to respond to those contingencies. So I think that the US will have to bite the bullet and realize that Iran is a major drone power and cannot be taken lightly.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.