An Iranian defense industry facility for manufacturing or storage of arms exploded late Saturday in the city of Isfahan. Iranian defense officials immediately claimed that this was a “failed attack.” However, videos shared online show that much more happened than the Iranian government states.

Iran Supplies Drones to Russia

Early last fall, Ukraine reported a surge in drone attacks on civilian infrastructure, notably targeting power stations and dams, using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones. At that time, Russia denied using Iranian drones to attack Ukraine. In October, Iranian officials told Reuters that Iran had promised to provide Russia with surface-to-surface missiles, in addition to more drones.

After previously denying Iran had ever provided Russia with drones for the Ukrainian War, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian changed his story, slightly. In early November, he stated that Tehran had provided Moscow with a limited number of drones months before the war in Ukraine and that if it was proven that Russia had used them in the war against Ukraine, the Islamic Republic would not be indifferent to it.

Since November, evidence has shown Iran is continuing to supply drones to Russia for the war effort in Ukraine. These same drones are also a major threat to the Middle East, with Israel stating they have major security concerns with the drone manufacturing.

The Saturday Evening Attack

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran, stated on Saturday that three small drones had attacked a military plant in Iran’s central city of Isfahan, about 400 km south of Tehran. “An explosion has occurred in one of the military centers affiliated to the Ministry of Defense,” stated the deputy head of security for Isfahan governorate, Mohammad Reza Jan-Nesari. Jan-Nesari stating, “fortunately there were no casualties.”

On Sunday, a post on Twitter, citing the Iran’s defense ministry stated, “There was an unsuccessful attack by small drones against a defense ministry industrial complex and fortunately with predictions and air defense arrangements already in place, one of them (struck),” and that “The air defense system of the complex was able to destroy two other drones. Fortunately, this unsuccessful attack killed no one and minor damage was sustained to the roof of the complex.”

The ministry said the attack took place at 10:30 p.m. local time Saturday. The Jerusalem Post stated that sources had observed three explosions in the city of Isfahan, one of which was in an ammunition manufacturing center affiliated with the defense ministry. According to the reports, there were casualties.

Later Sunday, social media provided several reasons for the incidents, linking it to Iran’s supplying of drones to Russia and Iran’s tensions both with Israel and the international community. A Twitter post by Mykhailo Podolyak an aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated, “Explosive night in Iran – drone & missile production, oil refineries,” adding Ukraine “did warn you”.

By Monday morning, the Iranian foreign ministry summoned the Ukrainian charge d’affaires in the country over comments made by the Zelenskyy adviser, who appeared to link a recent drone attack in central Iran to the war in Ukraine.

The Israeli press stated the drone attack on a defense facility was carried out by Mossad intelligence agency, to protect Israeli security interests, and not to prevent weapons exports to Russia. According to Israel, Isfahan is a hub for the Iranian missile industry. It is also the location where medium-range missiles, capable of hitting Israel are assembled.

The U.S.

On January 6, the U.S. hit Iranian drone manufacturer Qods Aviation with sanctions after the firm allegedly supplied Moscow with drones that Russian forces have been using to attack Ukraine. The Iranian defense manufacturer is allegedly responsible for the design and production of unmanned aerial vehicles used to conduct strikes during Russia’s war with Ukraine. The Treasury Department says the previously sanctioned firm changed its name to Light Airplanes Design and Manufacturing Industries in mid-2020 to evade sanctions.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave brief remarks following their meeting in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon. The secretary spoke about the terror attack at a Jerusalem synagogue this past Friday and Iran’s military support for Russia in its war against Ukraine.

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Jay Hicks is an author, instructor and consultant. With a special kinship for military personnel, Jay provides guidance on successful civilian career transition and has co-authored “The Transitioning Military Series”. He is the co-founder of Gr8Transitions4U, where advocating the value of hiring military personnel is the key focus. More about Jay and his passion can be found at