Iran reveals underground military drone base


Iranian state television showed Saturday footage of an underground air force base for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the Zagros mountain range in the west of the country.

The exact location of the base was not disclosed, although the TV reporter said he traveled on a helicopter for nearly 40 minutes from the city of Kermanshah to reach it.

Iran started developing UAVs in the 1980s during its eight-year war with Iraq.

The United States and Israel accuse Iran of dispatching fleets of drones to its proxies in the Middle East, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, the regime of Syria’s Bashar Assad and Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

A handout photo made available by the Iranian military on May 28, 2022, shows Commander-in-Chief of the Iranian Army Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi (R) and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri (L) talk as they visit an underground drone base, in an unknown location in Iran, May 19, 2022. (Iranian Army via AP Pohoto)

Video aired on state television showed Iran’s armed forces Chief of Staff Gen. Mohammad Bagheri and army Commander in Chief Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi visiting the underground site.

“More than 100 combat, reconnaissance and attack drones belonging to the army are kept for operations in this base located in the heart of the Zagros mountains,” the report said.

Bagheri, quoted by the official news agency IRNA, described the site as a “safe operational base for strategic drones.”

“We never underestimate threats, we never assume the enemy is asleep, and we are constantly alert and vigilant,” he added.

Mousavi told state television the base was located “several hundred meters underground,” without giving further details.

A handout photo made available by the Iranian military on May 28, 2022, shows UAVs in an underground drone base, in an unknown location in Iran, May 17, 2022. (Iranian Army via EPA Photo)

A handout photo made available by the Iranian military on May 28, 2022, shows UAVs in an underground drone base, in an unknown location in Iran, May 17, 2022. (Iranian Army via EPA Photo)

State TV said the flagship of the fleet was the “Kaman-22,” a drone equipped with missiles and able to fly at least 2,000 kilometers (1,245 miles).

The US Treasury slapped sanctions on the drone program of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in October last year.

It accused the Guards of being behind a September 2019 drone strike on a Saudi oil refinery, as well as a July 2021 drone attack on a commercial ship off the coast of Oman that killed two crew members.

Iran denied the charges.

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