US officials say Iran’s proxies in Iraq have been using larger and more sophisticated explosive drones to target US bases and personnel, The New York Times reported on June 4.

The drones, flying low, have evaded existing defenses and at least on three occasions in the past two months have hit the al-Asad airbase and other targets. Parts recovered after the explosions show the drones were manufactured by Iranian parts and were probably used by newly established small groups of well-trained members of pro-Iran militia in Iraq.

US and Iraqi officials said that the aim of the Iranians in using the new tactic is to put pressure on the US to lift harsh economic sanctions imposed by former president Donald Trump that have crippled Iran’s economy.

However, the new drones were deployed after Trump left office and as President Joe Biden announced his intention to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, the JCPOA, meaning Washington had to lift at least some of the sanctions. Talks for reaching a deal with Iran began in early April and continue in Vienna.

The US military, regarding the threat as serious(link is external), is rushing to develop ways to combat the new Iranian tactic. The drones, relatively long-range weapons, could potentially pose a threat to other US and allied targets in the region.

Iran has used its proxies to launch 300 attacks against US interests in Iraq since late 2019, but as these attacks accelerated, the US targeted and killed Tehran’s top Middle East operator, general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad in January 2020.

Source » iranintl