Jump to search Jump to main navigation Jump to main content Jump to footer navigation

Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

Produced by
NationalJournal logo

Former Iranian Missile Expert Heads Venezuelan UAV Initiative

A one-time Iranian ballistic missile technician now heads Venezuela's unmanned aerial vehicle initiative, prompting concerns over a possible covert effort in the South American nation to pursue extended-range delivery systems, Wired magazine reported on Monday (see GSN, Dec. 24, 2008).

Ramin Keshavarz, who previously worked for Iran's Defense Industries Organization, manages the effort at a Venezuelan air installation.

U.S. government personnel suspect Tehran has provided Venezuela with a supply of unmanned aerial vehicles concealed in a shipment to the site. Still, the nation gained only six such aircraft.

The UAV effort involves "excessively high" funding levels, the magazine said.

Separately, three of Venezuela's six experimental unmanned aerial vehicles -- the Justiciero, Vengador and Venezolano aircraft -- are under "special suspicion" among U.S. government insiders of including capabilities beyond standard UAV features.

“Of course we’re doing [the UAV initiative], and we have the right to. We are a free and independent country,” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said last week.

Chavez said his country has no "plans to harm anyone,” and the effort is one of several established “with the help of different countries including China, Russia, Iran and other allied countries.”

Venezuela's longest-distance unmanned aircraft could travel 1,200 miles, possibly placing Florida within its reach.

“Pretty soon someone is probably going to say there’s an atomic bomb on the tip of it,” Chavez said sarcastically.

One school of thought explains such collaboration as an instance of Venezuela hosting Iranian operations in opposition to the United States, but the theory neither acknowledges the unrelated benefits of such joint efforts nor political differences between Iranian and Venezuelan top officials, according to Wired.

Still, any Iranian ballistic delivery system preparation in Venezuela would take place beyond International Atomic Energy Agency auspices, the magazine says (Robert Beckhusen, Wired, June 18).

Note to our Readers

GSN ceased publication on July 31, 2014. Its articles and daily issues will remain archived and available on NTI’s website.

NTI Analysis

  • Latin America and the Caribbean 1540 Reporting

    Oct. 20, 2014

    This report is part of a collection examining implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in Central America, South America and the Caribbean to-date.

  • North Korean Ballistic Missile Models

    July 30, 2014

    This page contains interactive 3D missile models for North Korea. Users can drag the model by pressing and holding their mouse’s scroll wheel. They can zoom in and out on the model by rolling their scroll wheel up and down, and can orbit the model by clicking and dragging their left mouse button.

Country Profile

Flag of Iran

Iran

This article provides an overview of Iran's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

Learn More →