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Iran claims it has drones capable of flying 7,000 kilometers

Republican Guard general Hossein Salami says UAVs can ‘fly, return home, and land wherever they are planned to’; if true, distance would put Israel and Europe within range

A picture taken on January 13, 2020, during a press tour organized by the US-led coalition fighting the remnants of the Islamic State group, shows US army drones at the Ain al-Asad airbase in the western Iraqi province of Anbar (Ayman Henna / AFP)
A picture taken on January 13, 2020, during a press tour organized by the US-led coalition fighting the remnants of the Islamic State group, shows US army drones at the Ain al-Asad airbase in the western Iraqi province of Anbar (Ayman Henna / AFP)

Iran has drones with a range of 7,000 kilometers (4,375 miles) that can reach well beyond Israel, a top commander of the country’s Revolutionary Guard claimed Sunday.

Iran has made dubious and exaggerated claims regarding its military capabilities in the past, and there was no outside confirmation of the latest assertion.

“We have unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) with a long range of 7,000 kilometers. They can fly, return home, and land wherever they are planned to,” Revolutionary Guard chief Hossein Salami was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

Israel is approximately 1,700 kilometers (1,000 miles) from Iran.

The United States and Israel reportedly held talks earlier this month on cooperation against unmanned Iranian drones, with which the Islamic Republic is believed to be arming Shiite militias and terrorist organizations in the region.

Building on an April agreement by the two countries’ national security advisers, an interagency working group dealing with the threat to Israel and other US allies from Iranian drones and precision-guided missiles convened for the first time three weeks ago, the Walla news site reported.

Quoting both senior US and Israeli officials involved in the talks, the report said  the American team was led by White House National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk and the Israeli team was headed by deputy national security adviser Reuven Ezer.

Illustrative. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Gen. Hossein Salami, left, and the Guard’s aerospace division commander Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh talk while unveiling a new drone called “Gaza” in an undisclosed location in Iran, in a photo released on May 22, 2021. (Sepahnews of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, via AP)

One idea reportedly raised in the meeting was establishing a “no-fly zone” in the Middle East for Iranian UAVs.

In May, Israel downed a drone as it approached Israeli airspace near the northeastern city of Beit She’an, with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu later saying it was made by Iran and launched by Iranian forces toward Israel from either Syria or Iraq. In a similar case in 2018, a drone was flown from Syria into northern Israel before it was shot down by an Israeli helicopter. In response, the IDF launched a wave of strikes on Iranian assets in Syria.

Israel has a waged a nearly decade-long bombing campaign in Syria aimed at thwarting Iran and allied militias, including Hezbollah, from setting up bases to attack the Jewish state, as well as the transfer of advanced arms from Iran to Hezbollah.

Last week Walla reported that the US had increased military coordination with Israel and with a number of moderate Middle Eastern countries in an effort to counter the threat posed to the region by the Islamic Republic.

Over the past two months, the US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) has increased the pace of coordination and the number of high-level meetings with Israel, Egypt, Jordan, several Gulf states, Cyprus and Greece, the Sunday report said.

During his trip last week to the US, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi visited the Florida headquarters of CENTCOM, touting the “operational cooperation” between the US and Israeli militaries as “unprecedented.”

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