Containment and Strike: Iran’s Drone Program

Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) program has made headlines in recent months, after several of its drones were shot down outside the country’s borders, over Pakistan and Syria (Dawn, June 20). These incidents come as the country is beefing up its counterterrorism efforts, following the twin attacks in Tehran carried out by Islamic State (IS) in June (Tasnim, June 7).

As part of its counterterrorism efforts, Iran is increasingly applying its growing UAV capabilities to identifying and targeting terrorists. This is particularly the case in the country’s border areas, as well as in neighboring countries whose governments Tehran believes are unwilling or unable to tackle what it perceives a terrorist threat.

Capabilities and Applications

Iran possesses a range of surveillance and weaponized drones, including the H-110 Sarir, equipped with air-to-air missiles, and the Shahed 129, a drone capable of carrying out 24-hour surveillance as well as strike missions (Mehr, May

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