Decision by Obama led to Iran becoming “a powerhouse” in drone technology

The News York Times reported this past week that the Biden administration is attempting to stop Iran from providing Russia with deadly military drones for use in its ongoing war with Ukraine.

However, one conservative newspaper recently pointed out that the real origin of these weapons lies not in Iran but in a crucial mistake made by former President Barack Obama. 

Obama chose not to destroy drone that crashed in Iran

In an article published on Friday, The Washington Free Beacon’s editorial board noted that rather than developing drone technology on its own, Iran’s government simply reverse-engineered an American drone which crashed 11 years ago.

The Times revealed in 2011 that a bat-winged RQ-170 Sentinel drone which had been launched by the CIA from a base in Afghanistan crashed roughly 140 miles inside of Iran.

The newspaper reported that the device was being used as part of “an increasingly aggressive intelligence collection program” aimed at monitoring Iran’s nuclear program.

It also noted that then President Obama “briefly considered sending in a Navy SEAL team to blow it up before it fell into the hands of Iranian engineers.”

What’s more, a report by the Wall Street Journal stated that the possibility of launching an airstrike on the crash site was also looked at, as was the possibility of calling on Iranian allies for help.

However, the Journal quoted an unnamed U.S. official as saying, “No one warmed up to the option of recovering it or destroying it because of the potential it could become a larger incident.”

What’s more, other officials indicated that they didn’t “believe the aircraft’s technology can be reverse engineered with ease.”

As a result, no action was taken, with the Times observing that Iran proceeded to parade the captured drone through Tehran’s streets in a propaganda coup.

Iran replicated American technology

Yet those earlier assurances ultimately proved to be false, as the Journal reported in 2016 that Iran had managed to replicate the drone.

Meanwhile, Fox News reported in November that Iran and Russia reached a deal earlier this year to begin manufacturing drones on Russian soil.

Beacon’s op-ed piece thus went on to complain that Iran is “now a powerhouse in the development and deployment of drone technology to battlefields all over the world, including as a key supplier to Russia in its war on the civilian population of Ukraine.”

“Add the drone fiasco to the long list of the former president’s foreign policy failures, for which the United States and our allies will be paying the price—in lives and treasure—for decades to come,” they concluded.