Testing UAV Surveillance over Tehran
OE Watch Commentary: The Iranian drone program continues to expand rapidly. The Iranian military is increasingly pressing drones into service. While most Iranian discussion regarding drones focuses on their military application against external adversaries, the excerpted article from DefaPress.ir, Iran’s main defense news portal, suggests that Iranian authorities will also use surveillance drones in emergency response operations.
The threat of earthquakes in Iran is real: every decade Iran experiences major earthquakes, some of which claim thousands if not tens of thousands of lives. Tehran’s huge expansion in the years since the Islamic Revolution—it has grown from a city of two million in 1979 to perhaps 14 million today—coupled with a widespread failure to comply with earthquake-resistant engineering standards has left many Iranians fearing the inevitable “big one” will hit Iran’s capital. Indeed, there is increasingly an undercurrent of serious discussion about the possibility of moving Iran’s capital to reduce the danger to continuity of government after such a disaster.
While any decision to move Iran’s capital is years away, that Iranian authorities are testing drone surveillance in a disaster exercise in Tehran shows another strategy of preparation in which the Iranian government is engaged. That the drone belongs to and is operated by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)—a group dedicated to defending Iran’s revolutionary regime from enemies foreign and domestic—suggests that drone surveillance against Iranian civilians might be employed in scenarios other than their protection. At the very least, the IRGC’s ownership of disaster search-and-rescue drones suggests an unwillingness to allow civilian Iranian bodies to acquire or utilize such technology. End OE Watch Commentary (Rubin)
Source: “Bargozari Razmayesh Emdad va Nejat dar Tehran az 4 ta 15 Esfand; beh Kargiri Pehpadbaraye Nakhstin Bar dar Razmayesh Sepah Tehran” (Search and Rescue Efforts Held in Tehran from February 23 to March 6; UAVs used for the first time in Tehran Revolutionary Guards Exercise), Defapress.ir, 23 February 2015. http://www.defapress.ir/Fa/News/41799
UAVs used for the first time in Tehran Revolutionary Guards Exercise
According to a report by the defense and security correspondent of Defense News, Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Ahmad Zolghadr, deputy commander of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) unit of the Revolutionary Guards, this morning at a press conference for the search and rescue exercises for the Jerusalem and Kowsar Battalions, said that the exercises will test different organizations, and stated that by means of the maneuvers, they can reduce and lessen hazards. He added, in this regard, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) unit of the Revolutionary Guards formed overnight new search and rescue units for Greater Tehran.
He added, the scenario is a catastrophic high-magnitude earthquake in Tehran, and that’s why we’re trying to conduct the exercise in an environment close to reality… He added that for the first time, we will use drones to photograph the environment, and use of an air rescue helicopter is also expected….