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US, allies' academia collaborated with Iran university on drone research: Report

File photo of Iran's military drones (Photo by Tasnim News Agency)

A report has unveiled that academics from prestigious universities in the US, the UK, and Australia collaborated with a prominent Iranian university on research concerning unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones.

The Guardian revealed the information on Wednesday, citing a 2023 paper jointly written by researchers from the University of Houston, the University of Southampton, the University of New South Wales, and Sharif University of Technology.

According to the daily, the research examines "the use of drones in wireless networks and as communications hubs," and involves the UAVs' capability to establish new communication channels, when faced with jamming activity.

The Guardian said it "has seen no evidence" that the research, which was published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, "contravenes any sanctions or breaks any laws."

Over the past years, Iran has taken great strides in developing its UAV capability, emerging as a global leader in drone technology.

The advancement has been realized thanks to Iran's reliance on domestic potentials and knowhow, and in the face of widespread sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies on the Islamic Republic's economic and military sectors.

The country can now produce drones capable of carrying surgical-strike missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1242 miles). The aircraft also boast stealth and radar jamming capabilities as well as flight endurance of up to 24 hours.

Last September, the chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces revealed that demand for the purchase of Iran’s sophisticated homegrown drones was much greater than the country’s production.

"Today, the [number of] customers of our drones are several times more than our production capacity," Major General Mohammad Baqeri said at the time, adding that "major world powers" were vying to purchase Iranian weapons.

Back in 2021, head of US Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie testified before the US House Armed Services Committee that Iran's widespread use of drones meant that the US was operating without complete air superiority for the first time since the Korean War.

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