Iran struggles with rumors of downed drone and air defense failure


Staff member
Iran struggles with rumors of downed drone and air defense failure
Stories implying the country can't control its airspace have circulated over the last day.
Published: DECEMBER 6, 2021

Iran has struggled over the last day with a variety of stories that included a downed drone being carted off by helicopter, stories of air defense being used and an explosion near Natanz, the site of a nuclear facility. For Iran none of the stories have clear explanations and feed the rumor-mill that the country can’t control its airspace or keep sensitive sites safe. The story of a downed drone showed up on social media via video and photos of a drone that had apparently crashed in Kuhrang County, Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari Province. The drone looks like a large v-shaped craft, likely a Shahed 171 Simorgh, which is itself a copy of a US RQ-170 Sentinel drone.

Iran copied the stealthy American drone after downing one in 2011. Iran has a large arsenal of drones and has been using them frequently and exporting them across the region. In September Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz raised the alarm about an Iran drone base at Kashan where Iran trains drone operators. Gantz exposed more Iran drone bases in November in a briefing.

The same day as the drone footage appeared there were also responses to reports of an explosion near Natanz. “A loud explosion was heard near Iran’s main nuclear facilities at Natanz,” Al-Jazeera reported. The reports emerged Saturday. The explosions were some 200 kilometers from where the drone crashed, so there doesn’t appear to be a link.