Iran launches drone exercises following anniversary of Soleimani assassination

Iran launches drone exercises following anniversary of Soleimani assassination
Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters

Iran has launched military exercises involving an arsenal of domestically produced armed drones just days after the anniversary of the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a United States drone strike on his convoy in Iraq in early 2020.

Iran is one of many Middle Eastern nations that has developed an increased reliance on militarized drones, like Yemen, Syria and Iraq. According to Reuters, Iran is set to test its combat drones in the roles of bombers, interceptors, and scouts in the two-day exercises in the central province of Semnan.

“The fingers of our heroic armed forces are on the trigger, and if enemies commit the slightest mistake, the armed forces will surely respond fiercely,” stated top Iranian military commander Mohammad Bagheri. 

In a separate statement, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif alleged that U.S. President Donald Trump is seeking an excuse to attack Iran in his final days in the White House. Zarif also alleged that Israel intends to provoke a war. Israel has rejected the allegation, according to Reuters. 

The Iranian military exercise comes in the wake of increased tensions between Iran and the United States following the first anniversary of Soleimani’s death. 

Under the incoming Biden administration, relations between the two countries are expected to be renewed, due to Biden’s intent to revive the now-dead nuclear agreement, first signed by former President Barack Obama.

According to a U.S. official, the drones are capable of conducting “a kamikaze flight where they load it up with explosives and fly it into something.”

In addition to drones, Iran has developed and deployed a wide array of weapons despite international sanctions and embargoes preventing it from importing arms. Military analysts claim that Iran exaggerates its weapons capabilities, but concerns about its ballistic missiles contributed to Trump’s annulment of the Obama administration’s nuclear pact.