Iran’s dangerous race to regional hegemony marches on unabated. Five recent developments are worth noting:
- Iran has built factories in Lebanon to produce weapons for the terror group Hezbollah, according to reports by the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida .
Quoting an assistant commander of the Iranian Revolutionary guards, the paper reported that the plants can produce various types of rockets and missiles, some with a range of more than 500 kilometers, as well as land-based anti-ship missiles, anti-tank missiles, armored vehicles and drones that can carry explosives.
Many of the weapons have reportedly been successfully tested in Syria. The weapons factories are located underground to be safe from Israel aerial bombardment. Each factory only makes a part of the weapons, which are assembled later in a different location.
Israel has, in the past, bombed weapons factories in Sudan as well as convoys of weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
- Iran announced that it has begun mass production of a domestic battle tank. RT reports that the tank “appears to have a design similar to Russia’s T-90MS.”
Iran was planning to buy tanks from Russia but cut off talks with the superpower after claiming that Russia did not intend to share the latest technology with the Islamic Republic.
- In making the announcement about the production of the tank, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said, “The defense industry designed and built the battle tank from scratch. If not better, it’s still as deadly as the Russian T-90.”
The tanks are equipped with an electro-optical fire control system, a laser rangefinder and a ballistic computer. They are also capable of firing guided missiles.
- Iran announced that it has instituted a new weapon against drones which is capable of separating the drone from its command signals, reported The Washington Times. In addition, the weapons can reportedly reprogram the drone to attack its owner.
“The way they affect us is they provide Iran with a layered capability where they can use their fast boats, they can use cruise missiles, they can use radars, they can use UAVs to potentially dominate specific areas,” said General Votel in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
- A Shiite militia backed and trained by Iran declared its intentions to “liberate” the Golan Heights, territory which was won by Israel in 1967 in the Six-Day War and annexed in 1981. YNet News reports that the elite brigade is outfitted with Russian-made tanks from the Syrian army and Iranian rockets.
“The organization in question is an extension of the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq that includes several Shiite militias who are perceived as controversial due to their religious zeal,” reported YNet.
- Defying world standards of human rights, an Iranian court sentenced a husband and wife to death after convicting them of running “secret gatherings” of “sexually deviant” individuals. They were charged with “corrupting the land,” an offense introduced into the Iranian penal code after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
In related news, an unnamed man and woman were charged encouraging “corruption” and “immodesty” by hosting mixed parties and serving alcoholic beverages. Although the identity of the couple was not disclosed, it is believed that the husband holds dual American-Iranian citizenship. The couple owns an art gallery and hosts events for VIPs and foreign diplomats.
Police discovered 4,000 liters of alcohol in the basement of their house north of Tehran. The couple are Zoroastrians, for whom alcohol is allowed in Iran. However, it is only allowed for personal use and is forbidden if shared with Muslims.