A senior Iranian legislator is claiming that his country has photos of sensitive Israeli military bases that were taken by a Hezbollah-launched drone, which was subsequently neutralized by Israel. “These drones transmit the pictures online,” Ismaeil Kowsari told the Mehr news agency. “These pictures of forbidden sites taken and transmitted by this drone are now in our possession.” A report in The Sunday Times several weeks ago stated that the drone sent images of sensitive military sites and Dimona, where the Jewish state’s nuclear weapons are allegedly located.
Kowsari’s statement on Monday was another in a series of boasts from the rogue Islamic regime about alleged new cutting-edge capacities of its unmanned aircraft. Iran has separately claimed that its surveillance drones have flown into Israel’s airspace from Lebanon on numerous occasions in the past few years. This claim has been denied by Israel.
While the Iranian lawmaker’s latest announcement did not offer any details about the images of Israel’s bases, it implied that Iranian drones are able to transmit data while they are in operation. Kowsari’s message was also apparently meant as a warning to Israel about the range of methods Iran may have available to retaliate against any Israeli strikes on its nuclear sites.
Kowsari further asserted that the Iranian-financed Hezbollah has in its arsenal more technologically advanced Iranian-manufactured drones than the drone that captured the images, including some that are capable of transporting weapons. The legislator, who helms the Iranian parliament’s defense committee, insisted that Hezbollah is “definitely” equipped with more sophisticated drones, but he did not elaborate further.
A senior Israeli military official in Israel’s northern command expressed serious doubt that the Iranian drone had a camera, though he remarked that his country is investigating the matter. “To the best of our knowledge, no,” the official stated in response to the contention that the drone was able to take satellite photographs.
“Hezbollah won’t announce it as long as it doesn’t see the need to do so … That’s why we say we will respond to Israel inside (its) territory, should it take any action against us,” said Kowsari, who has previously served as a commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard.
Iran regularly makes public pronouncements about supposed technological advancements in its defense program. Last month Tehran claimed to have initiated production of a long-range missile-carrying drone that possesses a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles).
The Shahed-129 (the name literally means “witness,” and is often used in the Islamic world to refer to “martyrs,” i.e. suicide terrorists), is able to fly over a significant portion of the Middle East including Israel, and its range is nearly double that of previous drones produced by Iranian technicians, who have had a tendency to rely on reverse engineering military hardware while Iran is forced to endure an embargo by the West.
It is not known for sure, however, whether the new drone contains any aspects of an unmanned CIA aircraft that went down in eastern Iran last year. Iran claimed it had recovered data from the RQ-170 Sentinel and said it was constructing its own replica. Iran’s claims are impossible to independently confirm because the country’s storehouses of weaponry are not available for comprehensive international inspection with multinational war games or other cooperation.