Iran is Providing Drone Training to Militias near Isfahan, Israeli Minister
September 13, 2021
On Sunday, Israel’s defence minister accused Iran of providing foreign militias with drone training at an airbase near the city of Isfahan, less than a month after Tehran came under strict surveillance for a suspected drone attack on an Israeli-managed tanker off the coast of Oman. Israel has used military strikes and diplomatic pressure to counter what it sees as an effort by its arch-foe, whose nuclear talks with the West have stalled, to increase regional clout through allied guerrillas.
Defence Minister Benny Gantz said in a new disclosure that Iran was using Kashan airbase north of Isfahan to train “terror operatives from Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon in flying Iranian-made UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).” Iran was also attempting to “transfer know-how that would allow the manufacturing of UAVs in the Gaza Strip,” on Israel’s southern border, according to Gantz, who spoke at Reichman University near Tel Aviv.
His office provided what it claimed were satellite images of UAVs on the Kashan airport’s runways. Iran did not respond immediately. Two crew members were killed in a July 29 explosion aboard the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned petroleum product tanker near the mouth of the Gulf, a key oil shipping route. The vessel is operated and managed by Zodiac Maritime, a London-based company owned by Israeli magnate Eyal Ofer’s Ofer Global group
The US military said explosives experts from the Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, which was deployed to assist the Mercer Street, determined the explosion was caused by a drone manufactured in Iran, which was accused of carrying out the attack by other world powers. Iran has stated that it is not involved.