Iran inaugurates new drone production line in Tajikistan

May 17, 2022 GMT

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran said Tuesday it inaugurated a production line for manufacturing a new military drone in Tajikistan, a first for both nations.

A report by the official IRNA news agency said the ceremony took place during a visit to the Central Asian nation by Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces.

The move is seen as an effort by Iran to address the balance of power in the region: Afghanistan under its Sunni Muslim Taliban rulers poses a threat to its two neighbors, predominantly Shiite Iran and secular Tajikistan.

The report said the drone is dubbed the Ababil-2 after a bird in the Quran. It is capable of carrying out attacks as well as surveillance missions from a range of 200 kilometers (124 miles) with 1 1/2 hours of flight time, the report said. It did not reveal other details such as the capacity of the production line.

The announcement marks first time that Iran has launched a military production line abroad.