Iran unveils combat UAV based on captured US spy drone design, touts nuclear progress

Iran on Saturday unveiled a new unmanned aerial vehicle, a day after its top nuclear official hailed the progress made in developing nuclear particles, local media reported.
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, was quoted by Tehran Times as saying the Islamic Republic is weeks away from unveiling its industrial scale production of stable isotopes at the Fordow plant.
The official stressed that developing stable isotopes – which are predominantly used for medical and industrial purposes, unlike unstable isotopes, which are radioactive – does not contravene the obligations undertaken by Iran as part of last year’s nuclear agreement with world powers.
Salehi was one of Iran’s key negotiators in the nuclear deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States on July 14 last year.
The report added Iran has been helped by Russian nuclear scientists in developing the isotopes.
Meanwhile on Saturday a Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards unveiled Iran’s new drone in a ceremony in Tehran.
“The drone, Saeqeh (Thunderbolt) is Iran’s latest pilotless plane from Simorgh (Phoenix) class and enjoys the capability to simultaneously strike at four targets with smart bombs equipped with pinpoint and precision striking capability at long distances,” the official Fars news agency quoted General Amir Ali Hajizadeh as saying.
He pointed out Saeqeh is modeled on the American RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft. Iran shot down an RQ-170 in 2011.
“The Americans are on par with us in certain (drone building) fields, including production of stealth and bomber drones, and actually, the Americans are trying to stay on par with us in this section,” the official further added.