Iran building drone manufacturing plants in Belarus, Russia
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 analytical review of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) for August 1 says.
“Russia will benefit by acquiring Iranian drones for its invasion of Ukraine more readily. Israeli and Ukrainian media have noted that the construction of an Iranian drone factory in Belarus would alleviate the “logistical problems” Russia faces in transporting Iranian drones from Iran to Russia via the Middle East,” the message reads.
It is noted that Iran will benefit by receiving income for its economy in a critical economic situation and hyperinflation.
“Russia can also benefit Iran's military. Western media speculated in late 2022 that Iran might receive Russian Su-35 fighter jets in return for supplying Russia with drones. Iranian military officials have increasingly expressed skepticism at receiving Su-35s in recent months, however. Western media reported in March that Russia provided Iran with advanced surveillance software and cyber weapons in exchange for drones. A high-ranking Israeli military official separately expressed concern in June that Russia is providing Iran with Western weapons captured in Ukraine,” the message says.
The ISW notes that Iran’s close cooperation with Belarus and Russia may stem, in part, because Iran has signed long-term strategic agreements with these countries.
“Iranian Defense and Armed Forces Logistics Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani signed a military cooperation agreement with Khrenin on July 31 … Ashtiani and Khrenin may have discussed establishing Shahed kamikaze drone factories in Belarus to support the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the message reads.