Iran and Russia have expanded the level of their strategic cooperation in various fields. Most recently in space, when a Russian rocket launched an Iranian satellite into orbit from a Russian spaceport in Kazakhstan, writes analyst and Middle East expert Elijah J. Magnier.
Russia signed a contract with Iran to buy 1,000 drones after Iran supplied several aircraft and a simulator on which Russian officers trained: they successfully used the first drones in Ukraine. The move is considered unprecedented for a superpower that buys drones from Iran. Tehran considers it recognition of its advanced and efficient military industry, achieved despite 43 years of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
In the past decade, Russia has not paid much attention to the drone industry and has not invested adequately. Instead, Moscow has focused on developing hypersonic missiles, which have managed to achieve operational levels of this technology ahead of the United States. Russia's interest in military development has focused on strategic missiles with nuclear warheads, while in fact drones have become a necessity for every army.
Iran has also developed its long-range and high-precision missiles to achieve a range of up to 2,000 km, and these have been used successfully in Iraq and Syria against various targets. However, as we can see, Tehran has also focused on the intensive development of the drone industry. Tehran has used them in Syria and transferred them to its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, also sharing its experience with the Palestinians in Gaza.
According to well-informed sources in Iran, The purchase of drones by a superpower like Russia is an important indicator of the quality and development of the Iranian industry, which has excelled in producing the most advanced drones, such as the Shahid 129, which can fly for over 24 hours. This is what attracted Russia, especially for their use in the war in Ukraine.