On Saturday, Iranian state television broadcast footage of an air base for drones under the Zagros Mountains in the west of the country.
The exact location of the base was not disclosed, although a TV reporter said he had traveled about 40 minutes by helicopter from the city of Kermanshah to get there.
During the eight-year war with Iraq, Iran began building drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in 1980.
The United States and Israel have accused Iran of sending drones to its proxies in the Middle East, including the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
A video broadcast on state television shows General Mohammad Bagheri, the head of Iran’s armed forces, and army commander Abdolrahim Mousavi visiting an underground site.
The base, located in the heart of the Zagros Mountains, is home to more than 100 Army combat, reconnaissance and attack drones for the operation, the report said.
Bagheri, quoted by the state news agency IRNA, described the site as “a safe operational base for strategic drones”.
“We never underestimate the threat, we never assume that the enemy is asleep and we are constantly alert and vigilant,” he added.
Mousavi told state television without elaborating that the base was “several hundred meters (yards) underground.”
State TV said the fleet’s flagship was “Cannon-22”, a drone equipped with missiles and capable of flying at least 2,000 kilometers (1,245 miles).
The US Treasury in October last year imposed sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps drone program.
It blamed the guards behind a September 2019 drone strike on a Saudi oil refinery, as well as a July 2021 drone strike on a merchant ship off the coast of Oman, that killed two crewmen.
Iran has denied the allegations.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)