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Senior IRGC commander: Iran exports drones, has upper hand in aerospace

The file photo shows IRGC’s combat drone named Gaza.

A senior commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says Iran has become an exporter of military drones in the world and that the country holds the upper hand in aerospace.

Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Division, made the remark at a ceremony on Monday as he hailed the significant growth and rapid progress in Iran’s military and air defense capabilities.

“In the military field, we did not have in the past the capabilities that we enjoy today. In the past, we imported barbed wire, but now we export drones. Undoubtedly, this path has been developed by establishing a relationship between knowledge-based departments, universities and academic elites,” Hajizadeh said.

“In the aerospace division, we initially invested in the research sector so that we could overcome obstacles, which gave Iran superiority in the aerospace industry, and we heard many times that the Western states said the priority in the negotiations [on revival of the 2015 nuclear deal] was limiting our drones and missile power,” he added.

In April, the IRGC's new combat drone, called Gaza, successfully passed flight tests and became fully operational. The unmanned aerial vehicle has a 21-meter wingspan and a 3,100-kilogram takeoff mass with the capability of carrying a payload of 500 kg.

The previous month, the IRGC unveiled one of its new kamikaze drones, dubbed Me’raj 504, which is specialized in attacking enemy’s defense systems. The unmanned aerial vehicle has been designed and produced by the IRGC’s Ground Force and is capable of carrying a 2.5kg explosive payload over 100 kilometers.

The Islamic Republic’s military doctrine holds that the country’s armed capability solely serves defensive purposes and poses no threat to other states.

Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made substantial headway in manufacturing a broad range of indigenous equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in the weaponry sphere.

Iranian officials have repeatedly underscored that the country will not hesitate to boost its military capabilities, including its missile and drone power, which are entirely meant for defense, and that Iran’s defense capabilities will be never subject to negotiation.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has repeatedly called for efforts to maintain and boost Iran’s defense capabilities, hitting back at the enemies for disputing the country’s defense program.

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