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Iran to supply China with 15,000 drones, official says

February 9, 2023 at 1:45 pm

Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Maj [Iranian Army/Anadolu Agency]

An Iranian official has revealed that China is one of the leading customers of Iranian-manufactured drones and that a large shipment is set to be sent to Beijing, amid the ongoing controversy over Tehran’s supply of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Russia.

According to the UK-based news outlet, Iran International, an unnamed advisor to Iran’s Intelligence Minister revealed at a ceremony at Qazvin International University that China is in the “queue” to receive 15,000 Iranian drones, with the ally being a major customer amongst 90 countries seeking to benefit from Tehran’s extensive UAV industry.

“Since the day we turned to the East, the West could not bear it and an example was the war in Ukraine”, the advisor said, referring to Iran’s arming of Russia with drones throughout its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

READ: China reiterates support for Iran on nuclear issue

When Tehran’s role in militarily supplying Moscow was revealed months into the war last year, it at first denied it before admitting to it with the claim that it did so months before Russia launched its invasion.

Since then, however, Iran has only deepened its cooperation with the Kremlin by continuing its drone supplies to Russian forces, with the Wall Street Journal reporting this month that the two allies are moving ahead with plans to build a new factory within Russia that could produce at least 6,000 Iranian-designed drones for Moscow’s war effort.

Numerous Western nations have imposed sanctions on Iran over its active assistance, and the United States has curbed exports to Iranian firms responsible for producing the drones using American components.

READ: Russia flew $141m, western weapons to Iran in return for UAVs