Having just returned from the US, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has re-started saber-rattling as the regime put on display "the longest-range drone in the world."
Iran paraded its military hardware on Friday to mark what the Islamic Republic calls Sacred Defense Week, commemorating the start of the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war. Forces from the Iranian Army, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Police, Border Guards, and paramilitary Basij participated in the parades, showcasing ballistic and "hypersonic" missiles.
During his speech at the event, Raisi discussed several regional conflicts in which Iran has a stake, including the Kurdish groups in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He praised Iraq's recent announcement that it has moved armed Kurdish groups away from the border with Iran as a “positive step” and renewed threats against them. He said Iran needs to send experts to Iraq to ensure that the groups have been disarmed according to a March agreement between Iran and Iraq on their relocation.
Regarding recent developments in the Karabakh region, Raisi reiterated that "Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan, but we emphasize the necessity of respecting the rights of Armenians and preserving their security and rights." He added, “Our armed forces prevented any changes in geopolitics and border alterations,” without elaborating on this so-called accomplishment.
Raisi also denounced efforts by several regional countries to normalize ties with Israel, claiming that it would not bring peace and stability to the region. He underscored that Palestinian militia groups – what Iran calls resistance forces – “will not forgive normalization with Israel,” asserting that “All nations today detest the Zionist regime.”
He added that no Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts by the world will ever work except for the one proposed by Iran. “The Islamic Republic has repeatedly stated that the solution to the Palestinian issue is not the normalization of relations or agreements like Camp David Accords, Oslo Accords, and Sharm El Sheikh Memorandum,” he said. He claimed that “the solution is the one by the Supreme Leader,” who – according to Raisi -- proposed an election to form a government.
However, Iranian leaders have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel and the rhetoric of their Palestinian allies is to expel the Jews from Israel.
The president also claimed that “the presence of Iranian forces in the region and the Persian Gulf ensures security, unlike armed forces of foreign countries (the United States) whose presence creates problems and crises.” He stated, “Today, as Iran unveils Mohajer drones and Fattah missiles, the Islamic Republic continues to join international treaties,” perhaps referring to Tehran’s recent accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the BRICS group of nations.
According to state media, the country's military unveiled several drones and missiles during the parade, including models of Mohajer, Fattah, Shahed, and Arash. Last month, the Islamic Republic claimed that it had built an advanced drone named Mohajer-10 with an enhanced flight range and duration, as well as a larger payload. It has an operational range of 2,000 km (1,240 miles) and can fly for up to 24 hours, Iranian media reported, adding that its payload could reach 300 kg (661 pounds), double the capacity of the Mohajer-6 drone.
The United States has accused Iran of providing Mohajer-6 drones, among other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), to Russia for its war against Ukraine. On Tuesday, Washington expanded Iran-related sanctions, citing Tehran's "continued, deliberate proliferation of UAVs," enabling Russia, its proxies in the Middle East, and other destabilizing actors.