Friday, December 31, 2021

Iranian Made UAVs Are In Venezuela,


Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are stationed in Venezuela, on the northeast tip of South America, where some 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) separate them “from skyscrapers in Miami,” the author of a new report on the threat of UAVs has told JNS.

Maj. (res.) Tal Beeri, head of the research department at the Alma Center, a defense watchdog located in northern Israel, said the new report highlighted a topic that until now has received little attention — the arrival of Iranian-made UAVs in the western hemisphere.

The report notes that in general, Iranian-made UAVs compose “thousands of unmanned systems, which are designed to gather intelligence, and to strike surface or air targets, either by launching missiles and bombs, or conducting a suicide explosive attack by diving into the target.”

Venezuela, essentially in the backyard of the U.S., is a state that the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei classifies as being, at least symbolically, a part of the radical Shi’ite axis, said Beeri, a former member of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate.

“The Venezuelan regime, like Iran, is isolated. They share common interests and foster ties. Iran has clear economic and military interests in the country, and it is exploiting Venezuela’s weakness,” said Beeri. Venezuela, for its part, benefits by receiving military capabilities in the form of UAVs from Iran, which it says are for domestic security use, such as protecting oil assets.

Venezuela also swaps its heavy oil for Iranian condensate oil, which can be used to make gasoline — and which Venezuela can use to “improve the quality of its tar-like crude [oil],” according to a Reuters report.

The U.S. has been concerned over Iranian oil tankers and naval vessels travelling to Venezuela in recent months.

In 2020, Khamenei’s office published an image showing Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque surrounded by Iranian figures and Iranian proxy leaders. The image remarkably included Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.

“Ultimately, the Iranians have marked out Venezuela as a potential base for some sort of activity against the U.S. in the future,” Beeri told JNS.

“Even if they do not actually act from it, in Iran’s strategic view, merely having a presence there is a threat to the U.S.,” he added.

The Islamic Republic appears to believe that such a presence could contribute to its deterrence posture against Washington, helping it to “think twice” before taking military action against Iran.


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