Home inContext A War of Technological Words

A War of Technological Words

Samara Greenberg

Israel and Iran are engaged in a war of words over new technology. On February 21, the Israeli Air Force introduced a fleet of pilot-less planes that can fly as far as the Persian Gulf, putting Iran within Israel’s range. The Heron TP drones, which can fly for more than 24 consecutive hours, will be used for surveillance, jamming enemy communications, and assisting in communications between ground control and manned air force planes. Named the Eitan, which means ‘strong’ in Hebrew, the drones are capable of carrying payloads up to one ton. Israel has not said if the planes were designed for use against Iran; however, Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, commander of Israel’s air force, explained, “The Heron TP has the potential to be able to conduct new missions down the line as they become relevant.”

In response, Iranian Defense Minister Brig. General Ahmad Vahidi announced that Tehran’s radar systems can detect anything in the air. “Today, we own sea-based and ground-based radars as well as radars which are able to identify multiple air targets in various frequencies and different altitudes,” Vahidi said. “At present, we are making extensive use of radar systems and have various productions in the field,” he added, “And we will pursue our future programs at a higher pace.”

In addition, on Sunday, a senior Iranian official said Iran can target any adversary with its missiles. “Our missiles are now able to target any spot in which the conspirators are in, and the country is making advances in all fields,” Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, said in a meeting with war veterans and volunteers in Kerman. Even more, yesterday, Iranian Air Force Commander Brigadier General Hassan Shahsafi told the Iranian Fars News Agency that Tehran is set to test-fire an optimized version of the Qassed, the country’s 2,000 pound ‘smart bomb.’

Also of note, in the past two weeks, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly reiterated his call for eliminating Israel. Indeed, at a press conference with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Ahmadinejad said, “A Middle East without Zionism is a divine promise… Time is on the side of the peoples of the region. The Zionist entity is nearing the threshold of nonexistence.” During his speech on Sunday addressing an international conference on ‘National and Islamic Solidarity for Future of Palestine,’ Ahmadinejad announced that Israel’s existence is an insult to all of humanity, and that the “Zionist regime” is the origin of every war, genocide, terrors, and crimes in the world.

What can be deduced from Israel and Iran’s most recent war of words? Well, for one thing, Iran is certainly more outspoken, which is nothing new. But, however much it seems like Israel’s complacency is resulting in an Iranian victory, that may not be the case. Indeed, every time Iran announces that it has improved its missile technology, the international community takes note. Just yesterday, Moscow signaled that it is moving closer to supporting sanctions against Iran. To be sure, if Iran continues to increase its rhetoric, it may make U.S. efforts to impose harsh sanctions that much easier.