Iran’s Air Force ac­quires do­mes­ti­cally-made Kowsar fighter jets

Iran Daily - - National - By Gareth Porter*

Iran’s Air Force took de­liv­ery of three ad­vanced fighter jets de­signed and man­u­fac­tured by the coun­try’s ex­perts as the Is­lamic Re­pub­lic moves to ren­o­vate its air fleet.

The fourth-gen­er­a­tion fighter jets, named Kowsar, were de­liv­ered on Thurs­day to the Is­lamic Re­pub­lic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) dur­ing a cer­e­mony at­tended by De­fense Min­is­ter Bri­gadier Gen­eral Amir Hatami.

The event was also joined by Chief Com­man­der of Army Ma­jor Gen­eral Ab­dol­rahim Mousavi, Com­man­der of Air Force Bri­gadier Gen­eral Aziz Nasirzadeh and head of Plan and Bud­get Or­ga­ni­za­tion Mo­ham­mad Bagher Nobakht, Press TV re­ported.

Mainly de­vel­oped by the Iran Avi­a­tion In­dus­tries Or­ga­ni­za­tion (IAIO), Kowsar was un­veiled back in July 2017 and show­cased to the in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence at MAKS air show in Moscow. Kowsar is equipped with ad­vanced avion­ics and fire con­trol sys­tems and can be man­u­fac­tured in both sin­gle- and dou­ble-cock­pit types, the lat­ter of which can be used for ad­vanced pi­lot train­ing mis­sions in ad­di­tion to its com­bat ca­pa­bil­ity. The achieve­ment has made Iran one of the few coun­tries with the know-how to de­sign and man­u­fac­ture such air­craft.

Speak­ing dur­ing the, Bri­gadier Gen­eral Hatami hailed ef­forts made by the coun­try’s mil­i­tary ex­perts to pro­duce the jets amid the COVID-19 pan­demic, and said, “Along­side the de­vel­op­ment of this air­craft, we have gained great achieve­ments that are very valu­able for the coun­try,” Tas­nim News Agency re­ported.

Var­i­ous knowl­edge-based com­pa­nies and uni­ver­si­ties of the coun­try are co­op­er­at­ing with the mil­i­tary ex­perts, the min­is­ter said, adding that the coun­try would soon pro­duce more ad­vanced aerial equip­ment.

The ap­proval by the board of the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) of a June 19 res­o­lu­tion call­ing on Iran to com­ply fully with agency de­mands for co­op­er­a­tion marks a new stage in the long-run­ning Is­raeli cam­paign to iso­late Iran over al­leged covert nu­clear weapons ac­tiv­i­ties.

The IAEA has de­manded that Iran pro­vide “clarificat­ions” re­gard­ing “pos­si­ble un­de­clared nu­clear ma­te­rial and nu­cle­ar­related ac­tiv­i­ties,” as well as ac­cess to two sites in ques­tion.

Those de­mands are based on al­leged Ira­nian doc­u­ments that Is­raeli in­tel­li­gence sup­pos­edly stole from Iran in 2018. And as The Gray­zone has pre­vi­ously re­ported, their au­then­tic­ity is highly ques­tion­able, and their pur­ported theft may have never oc­curred.

Is­raeli pres­sure cam­paign gains way with US help

The lat­est phase of the Iran cri­sis erupted in June 2018, when the Is­raeli govern­ment in­formed the IAEA that its in­tel­li­gence ser­vices had dis­cov­ered a new “se­cret atomic ware­house” in the Turquz­abad dis­trict of Tehran.

In his Septem­ber 2018 United Na­tions speech an­nounc­ing the find, Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu sub­se­quently de­manded that IAEA di­rec­tor gen­eral, Yukio Amano, “do the right thing. Go in­spect this atomic ware­house, im­me­di­ately, be­fore the Ira­ni­ans fin­ish clear­ing it out.”

Amano pushed back pub­licly against the Is­raeli pres­sure in Oc­to­ber 2018, as­sert­ing his in­de­pen­dence from Ne­tanyahu’s agenda. Un­der his watch, the IAEA also failed to ac­cede to Is­rael’s de­mand to pub­li­cize doc­u­ments from the “ar­chive” they had pro­vided.

When Brian Hook, a neo­con­ser­va­tive op­er­a­tive serv­ing as the US State De­part­ment’s lead of­fi­cial on iso­lat­ing Iran, vis­ited Is­rael in Novem­ber 2018, the Is­raeli For­eign Min­istry’s po­lit­i­cal di­rec­tor told him his govern­ment was fu­ri­ous with the IAEA for fail­ing to take the doc­u­ments se­ri­ously.

Hook as­sured the Is­raelis that the Don­ald Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion would ap­ply pres­sure on the IAEA to take ac­tion. He as­signed the new US am­bas­sador to the IAEA, a pro­tege of John Bolton named Jackie Wal­cott, as his point per­son.

In Jan­uary 2019, as an ap­par­ent re­sult of the pres­sure cam­paign, the IAEA asked Iran to visit the ware­house that Ne­tanyahu had iden­ti­fied, in or­der to take en­vi­ron­men­tal sam­ples. Iran agreed, sug­gest­ing that Ira­nian of­fi­cials did not be­lieve the agency would find any­thing sup­port­ing the Is­raeli al­le­ga­tions.

Months later, lab­o­ra­tory re­sults showed the pres­ence of what the IAEA called “nat­u­ral ura­nium par­ti­cles of an­thro­pogenic ori­gin.” That meant that the par­ti­cles had been sub­ject to a process of ura­nium con­ver­sion but not en­rich­ment. The most likely ex­pla­na­tion for the find­ing was that a part of re­tired equip­ment or other ma­te­rial that had been used in Iran’s fully mon­i­tored ura­nium con­ver­sion pro­gram had ended up in that ware­house.

The log­i­cal next step for the IAEA at that point would have been to have to re­quest vis­its to sites where Iran’s de­clared con­ver­sion pro­gram has op­er­ated so the re­sults could be com­pared with those of the sam­ples found at the ware­house. That was what pre­cisely Iran pro­posed to the agency in Jan­uary 2020. The IAEA did carry out the sam­pling, but the lab­o­ra­tory tests on those sam­ples are not yet avail­able.

While the IAEA stalled on re­quest­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal sam­ples from the de­clared ura­nium con­ver­sion sites for sev­eral months, when it would have made the most sense to do so, Is­rael ex­ploited the lab re­sults to re­sume its po­lit­i­cal of­fen­sive against Iran.

With back­ing from the US, Is­rael pushed a du­bi­ous ar­gu­ment that par­ti­cles of nat­u­ral ura­nium con­firmed their claim that Iran had run an un­de­clared pro­gram to process nat­u­ral ura­nium for use in covert nu­clear weapon­sre­lated test­ing.

Is­rael en­hances its po­si­tion in IAEA

This Is­raeli lob­by­ing co­in­cided


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