Joe, Welcome! Iran Unveils New Ship-Launched Drone Capabilities Amid Biden’s Mideast Tour17:41 GMT, 15 July 2022
The naval demonstration followed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s remarks Thursday warning the US and its allies that any “mistake” against Iran would be “met with a harsh and regrettable response.” Those comments followed President Biden’s statement in an interview with Israeli TV that the US could use force to stop Tehran from building a nuke.
The Iranian Navy has formed a special division of surface ships and a submarine tasked with operating combat, surveillance, and suicide unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and showed off its newfound capabilities in images and video shared with national media.
A local television report showed drones of various sizes and classifications, including the Pelican VTOL naval drone, the Homa patrol and reconnaissance UAV, the Arash kamikaze drone, the tiny Chamroosh UAV, and the large Ababil-series strike drone, taking off from ships and a submarine in drills in the Indian Ocean.
The drones are carried by the Delvar auxiliary ship, the Lavan landing ship, and the IRIS Taregh, a Project 877 Paltus-class sub which Iran purchased from Russia in 1992.
The drills were observed by senior military leaders, including Army Commander in Chief Abdolrahim Mousavi, who said the capabilities provide Iran’s warships with a new form of deterrence against threats and, “if required, giv[e] enemies a response that will make them regret in case they commit a mistake.”
“Surveillance drones increase the intelligence power of our vessels hundreds of kilometers beyond [our] borders,” Mousavi added.
Iranian Navy Commander Shahram Irani said the upgrade will give his forces operational and air superiority in the depths of the world’s oceans.
Friday’s drills were held on the heels of US President Joe Biden’s arrival in the Middle East for a four-day mini-tour of the region taking him to Israel, the West Bank, and Saudi Arabia. The US president said in an interview with Israeli media Wednesday that America would use force against Iran to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. A day later, Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a joint declaration on the strategic partnership between their two nations, which similarly warned that the US would “use all elements of its national power” to stop Iran from building a nuke.
The Islamic Republic has disavowed weapons of mass destruction, and signaled repeatedly that it has no intention to build a nuclear weapon, citing the sufficient “deterrent power” of its arsenal of homegrown ballistic and cruise missiles, which former US Central Command chief Kenneth McKenzie recently estimated to number in the thousands.
On Thursday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned Washington and its allies not to make any “mistakes” that might provoke a “harsh and regrettable response” from Tehran, and boasted that Iran today is “stronger than ever” to respond to any potential aggression, and will not tolerate “any kind of insecurity and crisis in the region.”
On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian tweeted that the “puppet show” seen during Mr. Biden’s visit to Israel would only strengthen Iran’s determination. Tehran, he said, “will never fall short of the inalienable rights of the great Iranian nation.”
"Achieving a good, strong, lasting agreement is our objective,” Amir-Abdollahian added, referring to the Iran nuclear deal, which the US walked out on in 2018, but which the Biden administration has been negotiating to return to since 2021.