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Iran builds advanced drone: news report

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has built an advanced drone that can take off vertically and without a runway, Iranian media reported.

Iran’s military regularly announces defense and engineering developments, though some analysts are skeptical of the reliability of such reports.

Abbas Jam, researcher on a project for a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drone, said on Saturday that the drone would be tested that day and “unveiled” next year, according to Iran’s Mehr news agency.

The unmanned aircraft “enjoys ultra-advanced technology and has been built for the first time in the world,” Jam said, according to Mehr.

In October, Israel shot down a drone after it flew 25 miles into the Jewish state. Lebanese militant group Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the aircraft, saying its parts had been manufactured in Iran and assembled in Lebanon.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said last month that the downed drone did not use his country’s latest technological know-how, and that Iran possessed drones that are far more advanced.

An Iranian legislator said last month that Iran holds pictures of Israeli bases and other restricted areas obtained from the drone, although a senior Israeli military officer said to the best of their knowledge the drone had not been equipped with a camera capable of transmitting photographs.

Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Robin Pomeroy