13:30 02 Aug 2023

ISW: Iran is building drone factories in Belarus and Russia

Iran is building factories to produce unmanned aerial vehicles in Belarus, and the Russian Federation,  the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports in an analytical review.

"Iran is building factories for the production of drones in Belarus and Russia, which will help Russia to buy Iranian drones more easily and provide Iran with numerous economic and military benefits," the report said.

ISW reports that Iran has signed long-term strategic agreements with Belarus and the Russian Federation. And these agreements are mutually beneficial. Russia will win by acquiring Iranian drones for the invasion of Ukraine, the experts believe.

The construction of an Iranian drone factory in Belarus will ease Russia's " logistical problems in transporting Iranian drones from Iran through the Middle East.

Iran benefits by generating revenue for the Iranian economy. Britain's Secret Intelligence Service reported in July that Iran was seeking cash from Russia in exchange for Iranian drones. Iran is currently facing critical economic conditions. The rial's value exceeded 500,000 rials to one US dollar on August 1. The Iranian Statistics Center reported on July 25 that Iran's inflation rate is approximately 47.5 percent.

Russia can also benefit the Iranian military. At the end of 2022, Western media suggested that Iran could receive Russian Su-35 fighter jets in exchange for supplying Russia with drones. However, Iranian military officials have increasingly expressed skepticism about obtaining the Su-35 in recent months.

Western media reported in March that Russia had provided Iran with advanced surveillance software and cyber weapons in exchange for the drones. In June, a senior Israeli military official expressed concern that Russia was supplying Iran with Western weapons captured in Ukraine.


In May 2023, Ukraine claimed that Iranian engineers were studying converting factories in Gomel, Belarus, into drone production facilities.

The Biden administration revealed in June that Iran was helping Russia build a drone manufacturing plant in Yelabuz, Tatarstan, Russia.

In May 2022, Iran opened the Ababil-2 drone factory in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

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