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US House panel approves bill to ban Iran’s military drones amid Vienna talks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows Iran's new Mohajer 6 tactical unmanned aerial vehicle. (Photo by Tasnim news agency)

A US House panel has approved a bill to restrict the proliferation of Iran's military drone in the midst of negotiations over the removal of anti-Tehran sanctions in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

In a statement on Friday, Gregory W. Meeks, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced the passage of the Stop Iranian Drones Act (SIDA), which would impose a ban on the supply, sale or transfer of military drones to or from Iran under US law, by its members.

The SIDA bill, proposed earlier in the week by a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the US House of Representatives, addressed what it claimed to be the growing threat of Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program.

In the statement, Meeks accused Iran of conducting “drone attacks in the Middle East,” and said, “Such activity will not be tolerated by the US Congress and is actively being addressed by the Biden Administration.”

The head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said, “Our bill clarifies that existing conventional weapons sanctions against Iran include unmanned combat aerial vehicles and brings US code up to date with the UN’s categories of major conventional arms. By doing so, this legislation will allow us to better respond to the threat posed by Iran and its proxies’ aggressive UAV tactics to the US and our partners. This clarification makes clear to the international community that it is in everyone’s interest to work to stop Iranian UAV procurement and production.”

Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made great progress in developing and manufacturing a broad range of military equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in this regard.

Iran’s military drone capabilities have proved to be purely defensive in the face of aggressive moves by the United States and its regional allies, which have been fomenting chaos and tensions in West Asia and elsewhere.

Iranian officials have repeatedly underscored that the Islamic Republic will not hesitate to build up its defense capabilities, emphasizing such abilities are entirely meant for the purpose of defense and will be never subject to negotiations.

Last month, the Iranian Army intercepted two US unmanned aerial vehicles that had penetrated into the country’s airspace, giving them stern warnings to stay away from the zone where it was holding massive drills.

The ban imposed on the Iranian military drones on Friday comes as since April, Vienna has been hosting negotiations on a revival of the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which would require the US to remove its anti-Iran sanctions three years after Washington walked out of the JCPOA and slapped the bans on Iran to kill the deal.

Almost eleven months after US President Joe Biden was sworn in as president, the US still refuses to remove the sanctions, despite Biden’s pledge to undo the Iran policy of his predecessor Donald Trump, and end his failed “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.


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