In Brief: Iranian ‘suicide drones’ being developed at British universities

Ayatollah Khamenei > Tasnim News, CC BY 4.0; via Wikimedia Commons

Scientists at British universities have helped the Iranian regime develop technology that can be used in its drone programme and fighter jets, an investigation by the Jewish Chronicle has revealed.

At least 11 British universities, including Cambridge and Imperial College London, are reportedly involved, with staff producing at least 16 studies with the potential for Iranian military application.
In one project funded by the Iranian regime, researchers in Britain worked to improve drone engines, boosting their altitude, speed and range.

Another worked with Iranian counterparts to test sophisticated new control systems for jet engines, aimed at increasing their “manoeuvrability and response time” in “military applications”.

Other UK-based scientists have worked with Iran to research the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as mobile base stations to extend the range of communications systems, on special alloys for military aircraft and coatings to upgrade armour plating.

Shadow foreign secretary and LFI parliamentary supporter David Lammy said that the revelations were “deeply troubling” and called on the government to investigate whether sanctions had been breached.

The UK bans the export of military or “dual-use” technology to Iran, and recently imposed sanctions against Iranian individuals and organisations supplying Russia with kamikaze drones for use in Ukraine.

Iran’s drone and missile arsenal is controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which the Conservative government is under increasing pressure to proscribe, including from the Labour frontbench.