Iran’s official version of Saturday’s event is fairly straightforward. Three armed drones entered Iranian airspace in an attempt to attack the “factory”, but one of the drones was “destroyed by Iran’s air defense system” and the other two were captured by “defense traps”. was taken. The incident occurred in Isfahan, Iran’s third most populous city, located about 200 miles south of Tehran. As a result, damage to the roof of the ‘workshop’ was minimal. But Iran’s attempts to minimize attacks should not obscure the potentially large impact.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, multiple media reports have highlighted previous alleged Israeli attacks on Iran, which reflect a long-shadowed war between the two countries, with other reports already clear that Israel is responsible. It is specified to
It is entirely possible that the Iranian Defense Ministry’s ammunition facility, the Workshop, was not the target. Next to the warehouse is the Iranian Space Research Center, a US-licensed agency that previously collaborated on the country’s ballistic missile program.Sunday Israeli journalist Barak Rabid report Iran’s “missile program” was the target, and according to one source, “four different areas within the building were precisely targeted and the target was achieved.”
The attack came after Iranian television reported that an oil refinery fire had broken out in Tabriz, about 300 miles northwest of Tehran, and not far away a magnitude 5.9 earthquake shook the country’s far northwestern province of West Azerbaijan. It happened at about the same time. At least one report claims that the Tabriz facility may have also been hit by drones.
As the details of the attack emerge, the biggest unknown is how Iran will view the impact of this incident and how it will respond. I have.
First, will the attack change Iran’s plans related to military installations? This is one of the most difficult assessments for various intelligence agencies. However, if Iran decides to immediately strengthen its military production and storage facilities, as it has done much of its nuclear program, or speeds up, scales, or relocates facilities currently under construction. Or perhaps the attack has changed the mindset of Iran’s defense leaders. Tehran may now believe that its current facilities are inadequate and that the risk of future attacks is greater than it considers acceptable.
Second, despite statements in Iran’s official media, did the attack actually cause physical destruction affecting ammunition or ballistic missile development, production, or storage capacity? Ravid’s reported statement that the drone’s mission was accomplished clearly runs counter to Iran’s claims of minimal damage. Which is true? It’s hard to be sure without details about the specific target. But the apparent decline in the development, production, or transfer of critical military hardware by Iran indicates that the attack had a greater impact than Iran has let on. , it may suggest that the attack was ultimately not as successful as Israel hoped to destroy or significantly disrupt its ultimate target.
Of course, potential indicators related to both Iranian planning and physical destruction do not discount another possibility. This time the attack may be less about specifically eliminating Iranian facilities in Isfahan and more about testing the ability to use drones against targets and Iran’s response to such attacks. . For example, it is worth noting that the explosion in Isfahan was relatively small. If this were indeed an Israeli trial, then at some point in the future, whether months or years, Israel would deploy an operation of similar character, but of a different kind in another city. You should expect to do it against targets of .
Finally, is Iran taking steps to suggest it is planning a retail business? Iran is known for its patience, although it often sees a response to attacks as necessary to restore deterrence. It’s not readable by default if you consider it insignificant. For example, just a few weeks ago, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi once again publicly promised retribution for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, more than three years ago. But while Iran has deadly drones, one cannot expect a response from it to be exactly the same as an attack. Iran’s asymmetric efforts go back decades, with Tehran often seeking to carry out global terrorist attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets. Last June, Turkish authorities thwarted an Iranian plot to attack Israelis visiting Istanbul. In 2012, Iran attempted to assassinate Israeli officials in India and Kenya. Iran’s most notorious terrorist attack occurred nearly 30 years ago, in his 1994, when a Jewish community center in Argentina was blown up, killing 85 people and injuring more than 300.
There are other ways to deal with this. Iran’s cyber capabilities, for example, have improved significantly, and her 2020 cyber attack on Israel’s water system highlights the potential for alternatives. Regardless of method, Iran spends considerable time and effort developing its attacks. Thus, it also suggests that if Tehran expends its energy to move forward in response to this incident, it believes Iran will do more damage than allow this drone attack.
The truth is, it’s too early to say exactly how Iran sees this attack, or what exactly it was designed to do. You can get answers to these questions by looking for
Jonathan Panikoff is director of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative and former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East.
The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not imply endorsement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, intelligence agencies, or any other US government agency.