Iran is building factories for the production of unmanned aerial vehicles in Belarus and Russia.
Source: This is reported in an analytical review by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Quote: “Iran is pursuing the construction of drone factories in Belarus and Russia, which will help Russia acquire Iranian drones more readily and provide Iran with numerous economic and military benefits,” the report said.
ISW notes that Iran has signed long-term strategic agreements with Belarus and the Russian Federation. And these agreements are mutually beneficial.
Thus, Russia will win by acquiring Iranian drones for the invasion of Ukraine.
In addition, the construction of an Iranian drone factory in Belarus will ease the “logistical problems” Russia faces in transporting drones from Iran through the Middle East.
“Iran will benefit by receiving revenue for the Iranian economy. The British Secret Intelligence Service revealed in July that Iran seeks to acquire cash from Russia in return for Iranian drones…Iran is currently facing critical economic conditions, with the value of the rial surpassing 500,000 rials to one US dollar on August 1…The Iran Statistical Center reported on July 25 that Iran’s inflation rate is approximately 47.5 percent…”
Russia can also benefit the Iranian military, the ISW writes. In late 2022, Western media speculated that there was a possibility of Iran receiving Russian Su-35 fighter jets in exchange for drone supplies. However, in recent months, scepticism towards the possibility of obtaining the Su-35s has been growing among Iranian military officials.
In addition, in March, Western media reported that Iran had been provided with advanced surveillance software and cyber weapons from Russia in exchange for drones. A senior Israeli military official expressed concern that Russia was providing Iran with Western weapons captured in Ukraine.
Reminder: In May 2023, Ukraine claimed that Iranian engineers were studying how to convert factories in Homiel, Belarus, into drone production facilities.
The Biden administration revealed in June that Iran was helping Russia build a drone manufacturing plant in Yelabuz, Tatarstan, Russia.
In May 2022, Iran opened the Ababil-2 drone factory in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.