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Iran's Game Of Drones


Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami poses with a new, locally made combat drone during an unveiling ceremony in Tehran on September 23.

Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami poses with a new, locally made combat drone during an unveiling ceremony in Tehran on September 23.

"Yes, We Can," "Iranian Bat," "Inbama" (eds.: this is with us, in Persian), "The Eagle of the Persian Gulf," "Pride," "Phoenix," and "Fearless."

These are some of the names Iranians have suggested for an aircraft Tehran says it has manufactured based on a U.S. drone captured in 2011.

The suggestions come following a call by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on Iranians inside and outside the country to offer names for the Iranian drone, which Tehran claims it successfully tested on November 12.

The Iranian replica has been praised by IRGC commanders and other Iranian officials as a major achievement and a blow to the United States. They claim that Iranian engineers have managed to improve the efficiency of the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel. The Pentagon has downplayed the claims and said that the Iranian replica is an inferior copy.

In a statement posted on Iranian news sites, the IRGC said that due to the "importance of naming" the Iranian drone, it was calling on "appreciative" Iranian citizens, particularly the youth, to text their suggestions to a number it provided.

In a separate statement, the Revolutionary Guards said that Iranians outside the country could also offer their suggestions via e-mail. The IRGC said it had been contacted by many Iranian expats and "fans of the Islamic Revolution" demanding to be able to take part in the naming of the "Iranian RQ-170."

The individual with the best name will be rewarded with an "exquisite gift", the IRGC has promised.

Dozens of names have already been posted under the IRGC statements by readers of the website of the hard-line Fars news agency, which is affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards. They include "Trophy 170", "What You Can Do, I Can Do Better," and "Swallow."

In what appeared to be a show of force and sarcasm , the commander of the IRGC's aerospace division, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, was quoted last week by Iranian media as saying that Iran could offer the United States a copy of the captured drone.

"We will not extradite the US RQ-170 drone, since it is a [war] trophy, but if Iranian sanctions against the U.S. are lifted, maybe we will give the U.S. an Iranian model of the drone," Hajizadeh was quoted as saying.

--Golnaz Esfandiari

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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