The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), a combat support agency of the Pentagon, has declassified and set up an exhibit displaying Iranian drones used by Russia in Ukraine. The exhibit aims to convince global leaders to hold Tehran accountable for its involvement in the conflict. Representatives from over a dozen countries have already visited the exhibit to see the evidence.
The exhibit includes a nearly intact Shahed-131 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) recovered in Iraq, which the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps admitted was their own. It also features the wreckage of four Shahed-131s found in Ukraine, which the DIA was able to reconstruct. By comparing the drones found in Iraq and Ukraine, the exhibit provides evidence that Iran’s drones are being used by Russia in Ukraine, despite Tehran’s denials.
To demonstrate the connection, an analyst removed the navigation antenna from the drone found in Ukraine and placed it on the same spot on the Iraqi drone. The perfect fit, identical honeycomb interior, wing stabilizers, and engines on both drones establish a clear link.
The DIA’s exhibit serves two purposes. Firstly, it provides information to policymakers for informed decision-making and governance. Secondly, it counters disinformation through evidence-based presentations. The agency hopes to convince the United Nations to investigate the matter, as it potentially violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which prohibits the transfer of weapons from Iran without advance approval.
The United States, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and France have urged the U.N. to investigate Iran’s provision of drones to Russia. Although Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has resisted these calls, a U.N. investigation would be a significant step in addressing the issue.
The exhibit showcases the impressive simplicity of the Iranian Shahed drones, with many commercially available components. The U.S. government has been warning commercial companies about the potential use of their products in such UAVs.
Russia’s usage of Iranian drones, particularly the Shahed-131 and Shahed-136 models, in Ukraine demonstrates the deepening defense partnership between Russia and Iran. These attack drones are relatively inexpensive and one-way, limiting their overall usage.
In response to these activities, the U.S. government has imposed export restrictions on technology that Russia can use for its war efforts in Ukraine. Additionally, the Departments of Commerce, Justice, State, and Treasury have released a business advisory to inform companies about the risks of providing materials to Iran for its UAV program.
The declassified exhibit not only presents credible information to international partners and allies but also prompts them to take necessary action. As Russia seeks to evade these actions, the U.S. government, along with its allies and partners, will continue to intensify efforts to counter such evasion.
– DIA exhibit
– Lt. Col. Robert Carter (DIA spokesman)
– Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
– National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson