The Iranian military has given some details – but not the exact location – of an underground base for its military drones, state media reported on Saturday amid tensions in the Gulf.
State TV said 100 drones were being placed in the middle of the Zagros Mountains, including the Ababil-5, which it said were equipped with Qaim-9 missiles, an Iranian-made version of the American Hellfire from the air-to-surface.
“There is no doubt that the Islamic Republic’s drones of the Armed Forces of Iran are the most powerful in the region,” Army Commander Major General Abdulrahim Mousavi said. “Our ability to upgrade drones is unstoppable,” he said.
An Iranian state TV correspondent said he took a 45-minute helicopter flight from Kermanshah in western Iran to a secret underground drone site on Thursday. They were allowed to wear a blindfold only on reaching the base, he said.
TV footage showed lines of drones armed with missiles in a tunnel that is said to be several hundred meters underground.
TV reports came a day after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized two Greek tankers in the Gulf, in an apparent retaliation for the United States seizing Iranian oil from a tanker off the Greek coast.
Greek authorities confiscated the Iranian-flagged Pegas, along with 19 Russian crew members, last month due to EU sanctions. The United States later confiscated the Iranian oil cargo onboard and planned to send it to the United States.
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Pegas was later released, but the seizure escalated tensions at a delicate time, with Iran and world powers seeking to revive a nuclear deal, abandoned by former US President Donald Trump, easing sanctions on Tehran. reapplied.