Iran Pursuing Construction of Drone Factory in Belarus

By Arie Egozi

Defence Industry

Tel Aviv: The war in Ukraine has boosted the Iranian armed drones industry. Now Tehran is pursuing the construction of a drone factory in Belarus which will help Russia acquire Iranian drones more readily and provide Iran with numerous economic and military benefits, reported the website of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

According to the website, Iranian Armed Forces General Staff Chief Major General Mohammad Bagheri called for greater defence industry cooperation between Iran and Belarus during a meeting with Belarusian Defence Minister Lieutenant General Viktor Khrenin in Tehran on August 1.

Iranian Defence and Armed Forces Logistics Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani signed a military cooperation agreement with Khrenin on July 31.

According to the report, Ukraine claimed in May 2023 that Iranian engineers are exploring how to convert factories in Gomel, Belarus into drone production facilities. The Biden administration revealed in June that Iran is helping Russia build a drone manufacturing factory in Yelabuga, Tatarstan, Russia. Iran opened an Ababil-2 drone factory in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in May 2022.

Bagheri attended the opening ceremony of this factory. The production of Iranian drones in Belarus and Russia will benefit both Russia and Iran.

The report says that Russia will benefit by acquiring Iranian drones for its invasion of Ukraine more readily. Israeli and Ukrainian media have noted that the construction of an Iranian drone factory in Belarus would alleviate the “logistical problems” Russia faces in transporting Iranian drones from Iran to Russia via the Middle East.

The Biden administration published a map in June showing Iranian drone transfers from Iran to Russia through the Caspian Sea. Iran will benefit by receiving revenue for the Iranian economy. The British Secret Intelligence Service revealed in July that Iran seeks to acquire cash from Russia in return for Iranian drones.