Iran successfully test piloted a replica of a U.S. fallen drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel, this week. This news comes as a surprise to the United States because they were quoted claiming that the unmanned drone had been “protected as to prevent the removal of valuable data.” The successful test flight only means that more drones will come and on a larger scale. Iran says that they are working on “replicating the technology on a wider scale.” The U.S drone was captured three years ago after it was seen in Iranian air space, before which it was conducting surveillance in Afghanistan. Iran had previously claimed to seize several drones before this instance, but this is the first instance where something has actually come from it.
The controversy that stems from this article is that Iran now possesses the capabilities of drones, and at the fault of the United States. This creates several international issues for not only neighboring countries, but also the United States. The U.S.’s own technology fell into the wrong hands and will now most likely be used against other nations. This creates even more sovereignty issues, which the U.S. has been accompanied to as of late. This is not the first time that U.S.’s technology/weapons has been used against the United States and other nations worldwide. Ever since the atomic bomb and nuclear weapons other nations have been trying to catch the U.S. and drones are looking like a familiar situation. It creates problems in terms of international law because someone has to take the blame for these issues. The accountability issue has been raised several times when it comes to drones and will continue to be raised until something is done about them. Internationally they intrude on state sovereignty, injure or kill civilians without even an apology or acknowledgement, and just creates civil panic in lands that drones operate. If Iran controls drones in our airspace, it will open the United State’s eyes as to what it's like to have their sovereignty ignored.
Although the drone that was replicated was only a surveillance drone, it does not bode well because the Iranians could always militarize them. Since they had claimed to capture several other drones, one of which could already be militarized, and then it is only a matter of time until they can reverse engineer the technology. This will only further our surveillance on Iran and its neighbors to see what drones they will create and where they will occupy them. By giving them the technology unwillingly it creates tensions between our two governments as we try to peacefully work together so that both nations can have drones.
The U.S. could also face legal repercussions internationally because it was in fact their drone that was replicated and thus places the blame on them as to why Iran now owns a drone. The military technology that was gained from the drone could also help to create other advanced weaponry, depending on how much there is to be gained from the drone itself. The U.S. is already under the crosshairs for their use of drones, and the fact that we have now helped another nation get their hands on drones will not go over well. The U.S. needs to work quickly with the Iranian government to ensure that if the drones will be used, which they undoubtedly will, that they are used peacefully and are not militarized.
This undoubtedly will only further the question of the legality of drone strikes and the use of drones as surveillance. It will come a point where it begs the question whether or not they can be used peacefully and for the greater good. The U.S. has skirted its way across the issue by saying that they are only used against terrorists and perpetrators of 9/11. Once other nations, like Iran, start to manufacture drones it is only a matter of time until they are seen in U.S. air space. We cannot question the sovereignty of drones because we ourselves send them into other nations without their knowledge. Since the U.S. will continue to survey other nations and conduct drone strikes, they cannot question other nations when they start to do the same. You cannot hold someone accountable for using drones, if you at first are not accountable for doing the same action.