Alarm as UK Academia Fuels Iran’s Drone Program

In an alarming revelation, top UK universities, including Cambridge University and Imperial College London, are reported to have assisted in drone and fighter jet development, potentially breaching national sanctions. The findings, exposed by the Jewish Chronicle newspaper, have sent shockwaves across the political landscape.

A total of 11 British universities have participated in at least 16 studies, raising fears of potential misuse by Iranian military forces. Some projects have significantly enhanced drone engines, increasing their altitude, speed, and range, while others have contributed to the development of advanced control systems for jet engines, aimed at improving their “maneuverability and response time.”

A government spokesperson emphasized that the UK would not “accept collaborations which compromise our national security.”

Meanwhile, Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy labeled the findings as “deeply troubling” and demanded an urgent probe into potential sanctions violations.

The controversy comes as the UK recently imposed additional sanctions on Iranians assisting with kamikaze drones for use in . The revelation that potentially sanction-breaking research was conducted within Britain's top institutions raises serious questions about the efficacy of the government's stringent sanctions regime.

Alicia Kearns MP, chair of the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, added her voice to the outcry, stating, “This is a horrifying collaboration, one that I fear risks breaching sanctions in place around sensitive and dual-use technologies.”

The discovery prompts a critical examination of how such research, including projects that may inadvertently enhance technology sold to Russia for use in Ukraine, evaded government scrutiny.

The unfolding controversy underscores the need for stringent oversight to ensure that cutting-edge research doesn't fall into the wrong hands, potentially threatening national security.

Photo courtesy of Iran Intl.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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