Sorry, Russia: Iran is Building Their Own Domestic Tanks Now

Peter Suclu – The National Interest July 5, 2020

Irania developed, probably using Russian T-90 as a template, Karrar tank. Click to enlarge

Here’s What You Need to Remember: Iranians have shown that they were, in fact, serious about moving away from its reliance on Russian imports to bolster its military arsenal.

In 2016 Russia’s Uralvagonzavod announced that it would allow Iran to license-build the T-90S main battle tank (MBT) domestically once restrictions on technical cooperation were lifted. In addition, the Russian military firm said it will also help the Islamic Republic’s Army modernize its existing T-72 fleet.

However, even four years ago Tehran had other ideas – which included building its own tanks without help from Moscow. Now it looks as if that has finally occurred.

Last week the Commander of the Iranian Army Ground Forces, Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari, spoke on Iranian state TV and said that the Defense Ministry and the Armed Forces have jointly developed a domestically-built T-90 MBT. This new tank is undergoing final tests before being delivered to the Army Ground Force.

Heidari said the tank is equipped with a new gun stabilizer and chemical defense systems, and was conceived as a weapon for modern warfare. The Iranian Army Ground Force will reportedly take delivery of the first batch of the tanks in the Iranian month of Mehr – September 22 to October 21.

The efforts to build the tank domestically have been ongoing since Iran announced it would do so without Russian help. The Islamic Republic Ground Corps had announced it would receive at least 800 of the new tanks, which despite no assistance from Russia, do closely resemble the T-90S. The tank was dubbed the “Karrar” (Striker) when the program was announced in 2017 – but in the most recent announcements on state TV, that name wasn’t used.

The Karra was stated to have a crew of three, would feature composite armor with Explosive-Reactive Armor (ERA) panels on both the turret and hull, just like the T-90. Its main armament is a 125mm 2A46M smoothbore gun with a stabilizer for its main armament. Given the fact that it is so similar visually, it is easy to see what it has been previously described as “Russian technology with a bad paint job.”

The Karrar is essentially a clone of the Russian-designed T-90S MBT and is reportedly far more advanced than the Zulfiqar, the MBT that was named after the sword of the first religious, spiritual and political Shia leader, Hazrat Ali. It was first conceived by Iranian Army Brigadier General Mir-Younes Masoumazadeh and based on the American M48 and M60 and Soviet T-72 tanks. The Zulfiqar entered production in 1996 and there were two main variants produced. In May 2010 the Iranian Army announced that it produced a new and upgraded Zulfiqar III.

In building the Karrar – or whatever the tank is actually known as today – the Iranians have shown that they were, in fact, serious about moving away from its reliance on Russian imports to bolster its military arsenal. While it has shown that it can domestically-build a tank on par with the T-90, it is still essentially just a copy of a very solid design, not an original concept build from the ground up.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.

This article first appeared earlier this year and is being republished due to reader interest.

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12 responses to “Sorry, Russia: Iran is Building Their Own Domestic Tanks Now”

  1. This kind of military development leads one to believe as I do, that Iran has the advanced X band radar and can see stealth aircraft. I doubt this radar has ever been turned on. I think Iran will wait until they get intelligence from Russia that an attack is imminent. I used to have an Iranian friend in London and his brother was in the Iranian military at the time and he said it was common knowledge that Iran had nukes (big dirty Soviet-era nukes) and the policy was to deploy these nukes (at least 2) as soon as hostilities started before Iran’s military systems were degraded. Are these nukes in Iran? Does Iran have one in the US and if so where?

  2. It’s a good idea for Iran to build their own weapons. Some countries like the US and Israel might denigrate them as “basic”, but as long as they can build plenty of them then it becomes a serious weapon. In WWII Russia was able to put large numbers into a battle–T34 tanks, PPSH sub-machine guns, men–that they were able to overwhelm the Germans. That’s why the Russians say, “Quantity has its own quality.”

    If the US has fewer units of a weapons platform like the F-16 Falcon, perhaps only one fifth as many against a comparable enemy aircraft, then even if the F-16 was superior, or its pilot training was superior, it still means it has to consistently take out five enemy aircraft for each one of its own taken out. That may happen here and there, such is war, but a 5 to 1 kill-ratio just cannot be maintained every engagement. Similar numbers may be needed to defeat this new tank, which may even turn out to be a good one.

  3. @Carl Jones You see it is rather convenient you keep posting comments of knowing someone who had family in Iranian military, who just happen to know USSR nukes are in Iran as “common knowledge” Even though any such nukes would be among the closes guarded secrets of any country. But apparently every Tom, Dick and Harry has this sensitive information available to them if they know anyone in the Iranian military…

    More than likely the US has dozens of former soviet era nukes in their possession or Israel does, so when they decide to either low yield nuke some city or dirty bomb it using the old nuke/s, instantly the finger will be pointed to Iran with stories like yours surfacing in the media to lend credability.

    What Iran has always had and no one ever mentions is their chemical and biological programs developed during the Iran, Iraq war, why would a nation that has access to such deadly weapons that make it hard to point a finger, need to rely on crude methods like nukes?
    Just look at China and how the alleged Covid outbreak was more than a likely chemical or biological weapon.
    Even though China has said this outright, they have no way to prove who was responsible, even though they know it was the US and/or UK, Israel… Let alone if they have identified the agents used, probably not long lived enough in the body to get a sample, but once the damage is done, leads to death.

    Anyway back to the article, regardless of it being a clone or not of the T90S, the T90S is more thn on par with every Western tank, so to try and play it down as a major force multiplier is typical Western media tactics, to keep everyone thinking Iran, Russia, China or whoever are third world, backwards militaries that will pose no threat should they campaign for war.
    It may have been true for Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, but even against third world out dated armies, they suffered heavy losses over the years and failed to control the nation as their end goal was. Even having to go back on their vow to never engage the Taliban at the negotiation table due to the fact they lost the whole country outside of Kabul to the Taliban soon after they took it by force!

    Everyone used to laugh and China when they would buy Russian arms and start to reverse engineer them and develop their own varients, but no one is laughing at Chinas military now are they…

  4. Like the cobbled together Iranian airforce,this tank would be no match for Americas Abrams tank.The American airforce would quickly deal with the Iranian airforce.
    Unless the Iranians have got some other role in mind….the “battle of Kursk” mass tank battle involved the masses of Russian tanks versus fewer advanced German tanks…..just for example…..but with roving American tank killer helicopters…..well you could go on etc.
    If there IS conflict,just remember it is the Jews who control the United States who are pushing for war.

    These fiends are in the process of destroying America……employing crypto Jews to do it.
    It is obvious Americans are being cultivated so that they vote for jew number 1 rather than Jew 2 Joe Alzheimer’s Biden.
    It’s sort of a replay of when John “myriad of health issues” McCain ran for office.

  5. The Iranians should spend more of their budget on finding Special Boat Services operators and Mossad active in Iran to stop the sabotage and murder. Tanks aren’t very useful for that purpose are they?

  6. when it comes to a question of survival, it does not matter if Iran build a copy or reversed engineer a tank, a fighter aircraft, a drone, you can just name anything you want to name. If they have a working copy, then invaders should worry.

    this world is becoming very unstable. COVID19 is, IMHO is a weapon of mass destruction of a different kind, the kind that enslaves majority of us. It has been unleashed. Next would be to create several global chaos in sequence, having the objective of bringing out the animal instinct in human and eventually, implementing Albert Pike’s plan for global domination under one group of human-devil. It might take them some more years, but they will have the capability to push this agenda.

    Iran, and other nations that have developed or copied means to bite back can buy the world some more time, and who knows, with time, we can resolve some of our differences and lives peacefully.

  7. In fact, Iran doesn’t trust Russia that match, (see the case of the S300) Iran counts primarily on his own, it’s wise.

  8. Mojo Jojo: It is common knowledge in the West, for those who make it their business to know. One previous CIA chief sent a memo to all the CIAda staff that they should refrain from casual chatter about Iran’s nukes. Just because the BBC and the Telegraph aren’t talking about it, does not mean it isn’t true. I was just lucky enough to know this very charming Iranian guy who had exceptional English… maybe he worked on the side for MI6, but that would be speculation. It’s quite funny how popular forum topics from 15/16yrs ago just fall out of some people’s memories.

    Just after 9/11, the fake news was awash with speculation that (so say) terrorists could easily set up a bioweapons lab in a bedsit for next to no money… but that also appears to have slipped people’s minds.

    How about West Yorkshire Police stating that 17yr old Shehzad Tanweer (so say 7/7 terrorist) had £120,000 in his bank account. He worked part-time in his father’s fish & chip shop, clearly, this line of work pays well. WYP and the Mets terrorism unit both lied to me in two FOI requests. Little, but very significant details like this never leave my mind.

  9. @Vespasian Once again a rose coloured glasses patriot, the Abrhams is cold war era tech with modern updates that are severly lacking, just look at how many got scrapped by ied’s in Iraq (and how many thousands died as a result, but since it was over a long period, easier to hide from the public), imagine what modern projectiles would do to them in a war!
    Why you would even bring up a WW2 battle that has no relevance, given the T90S is more than a match for the modern versions of the Abrahms, so why you expect any clone of such a capable tank would be less capable…

    @Robert I think you will find the Revolutionary forces are more than capable of finding and capturing/killing foreign agents in their country.
    The issue is that most of these sabotages are likely from trained Iranian traitors who have just finished their secret training via CIA, MI6 and Mossad, now they have been let loose to cause damage to the regime via dropping the publics confidence in their ability to protect them etc.
    To route out such homegrown terrorists is a very difficult task, just ask the US and UK about how well they have fared against homegrown radicals first…

    Other than following the path of the old KGB or Saddams Republican guard, there are few effective measures from finding and detering such people, but that path comes with the hate and loss of public support.

  10. @Carl Jones Common knowledge of part of the whole set up for what they know will be the trigger point for WW3?

    How long has Israel cried about Iran is close to aquiring nukes and tried to force the western nations hands to strike Iran first? You really think if there were soviet nukes in Iran, that Israel would not use that fact along with the former leader Kohmeini (obviously spelt wrong lol) threats to wipe them off the map (even though he literally meant returning the land to Palestine therefore there would no longer be an Israel to show on any map, not slaughtering the Jews as the Jews claim…) that they would not have used that to force a strike on Iran?

    As for the post 9/11 bio weapon talk, they clearly had Covid in mind and were pathing the way to blame someone, which they have done with China now.

    As for Shehzad, more than likely the money was placed in his account after the event, as with the a lot of the terror training exercise gone live, Shehzad was probably hired to carry out a role, only to turn into a real event that he would get the blame for along with other uselful patsies.
    Placing fund into an account they would freeze and recover the funds under the pretense of proceeds of crime laws is just extra cement for their indestructible passports of 9/11 evidence list etc.

  11. Mojo Jojo: Thanks for confirming you are a deep state troll.

  12. Nowadays if a small gas tank goes up in flames in Iran, Israeli officials rush to post a twit saying: “We can’t deny our involvement.”! They used to be involved in a lot of big things, nowadays though they want to involve themselves in even small things!

    And then we have the overall distorted opinion of the people around the world particularly the easterners and westerners or the westernized people in middle-east, mostly shaped by propaganda and Hollywood generated myths. One of the important ones is that Iran needs nukes. It is wrong, Iran does not need to actually have and keep nukes, what Iran could somewhat benefit from is the ability to be always just a few short steps away from making one, even so the benefit from that too is overrated. But how?

    In deterrence doctrine used in game theory there are four principles:

    1- Balance of terror: To be able to scare your enemy!
    2- Flexible response: In case of an enemy action, having the ability to choose from a large list of different responses.
    3- Big Retaliation/pay back: Being able to respond to an enemy action with a bigger counter-action.
    4- Total war: Being able to drag the situation or escalate to total annihilation or total war

    Iran achieved capability in these four years ago and today is at the peak of it. And that is why it has not been attacked like others. So Iran is very scary in the eyes of its enemies in various ways. It has the ability to respond very flexibly and thus able to greatly surprise its enemy. Can retaliate with a bigger response against every enemy action. Can easily expand the conflict to total war or even world war.

    Regarding nuclear weapons… Iran has locally made beyond-horizon radars that can detect a nuclear armed Jericho missile launch from Israel, Iran then can launch a barrage of highly accurate advanced Dezful missiles to take out Dimona within 7 minutes from Iranian land and iron-dome can just stand there in awe and fail! Or even better Hezbollah could do it up close. Perhaps Israel would experience a nuclear explosion earlier than Iran even though they launch first! This is a sure deterrence. The NATO Turkey hosts a US base that has nuclear missiles stored, it can be targeted too. Obviously this would not be even needed due to small size of the Zionist entity. To understand better consider Pakistan, it has nuclear weapons but what is the benefit? There are more than ~340 cases of US drone attacks, with high collateral damage in Pakistan, often hitting wedding parties; compare this to Iran, has no nuclear weapons but captures RQ-170 and has the biggest collection of destroyed or captured US and Israel drones in the world! UK decommissioned Scan-Eagle because Iran can hack them in batches! Iran shot down a MQ-4C (Global Hawk) for the first time in the world in a very high altitude using its older generation air-defense and after having tracked it from UAE airport and warning it 4 times; it led India to cancel a deal to buy Global Hawks from US. So one can ask what is the point of actually maintaining an arsenal of nuclear weapons? Specially considering that if Iran really wanted it could make them relatively quickly (If Iran couldn’t make nukes, then why its nuclear scientists have been targets of successful and failed assassinations?) and besides Iran already has conventional deterrence for enemy nuclear weapons! Nukes are costly to maintain and secure, they are indiscriminate and draw global condemnation. In contrast high precision, fast maneuverable missiles that can be modified to suit every situation create infinite opportunities, the warhead can be adjusted to be appropriate and strong enough just for the intended target, they are accurate and very fast, many call them sure-strikes! Using them has minimum chance of collateral damage and their use does not negatively impact global public opinion.

    Then comes the importance of drones, with the recent IRGC satellite launch, Iran’s Fotros long endurance drone can be operated in its maximum range potential. So as you see today’s world is the world of Missiles, Drones, Intel and Radars.

    There is another reason for that… an effective way to understand this is through Systems Theory which is a fascinating subject. We will focus mainly on Organic and Cybernetic systems.

    Humanity started governance with organic systems, we skip through many thousand years of history… the end result of which was “bureaucracy”. The important thing is to know that in this system ultimately we are concerned with the control of humans over humans. You can be the best driver but if you don’t have driving license you can’t drive, you can be the most skilled or knowledgeable in a field but if you don’t have a certificate you are nothing! The world was organized and five sources of power became important, namely: Military, Economic, Scientific, Cultural, Social.

    With the advances in electronics, computers and invention of Internet, humanity entered a new era of cybernetic systems. Because of the nature of cybernetic systems the world has been rapidly transforming and the traditional 5 sources of power defined before has become obsolete; today only Information and Energy matters. A strong country must have hegemony in these two, other things still matter at technical and operational levels only, a successful military must know what to hit, where to hit and when to hit with live accurate information/data. Due to the nature of cybernetic systems, the ultimate form of governance is a global one and we are inevitably going there, we can’t expect humanity not to explore the new horizons that came with cybernetics. Today we can’t separate ourselves from cybernetic systems and we are connected to the cyberspace, next generations will be more and more “cyborgs”.

    Satan, his army of Djinns and his top level human slaves know that ultimate control and governance can be realized only through cybernetic systems, so it is natural that globalists have been pushing for the end game!

    In comparison with biologic systems, cybernetic systems must directly command sub-systems, otherwise they are disabled. In Shock and Awe doctrine, you create a shock followed by an awe that disables and cuts the command chain. This is how they toppled Saddam in Iraq, they cut the head and the body can’t respond or receive orders. In cyber attacks, chain of command is disrupted and causes the sub-system to malfunction or become completely disabled. In contrast biological systems have true autonomous sub-systems, if your hand is disabled, it won’t move but still it gets the food and is alive. Spinal injury at the neck causes complete disability yet heart, lungs, digestive systems all continue to work autonomously. This is the key difference between biologic and cybernetic systems.

    As for military in the cybernetics era… Guided Missiles, Drones and Electronic/Intel warfare are the most important, the rest are defined as secondary or obsolete. The propaganda machine still wants to sell the idea that an Aircraft carrier is a sign of power where in truth it belongs to the old world and today is no more than a liability.

    So Globalists defined role of each country in relation to United States as The Brain. They were not expecting that in the “heartland” of energy, an autonomous heart would take power and grow its own mind! And they tried to destroy this threat through various means, however eventually they concluded that they should just contain it! And that’s what they are doing now with Iran.

    The world has been moving towards ultimate advancement in cybernetic systems and naturally globalists have had their own misled dreams. Parallel to this Khomeini the founder of Islamic Revolution in Iran believed that perfect social and governance systems must be based on biologic systems and in particular based on the human body as it is the most advanced system in the world! This is why IRGC has been so successful because it is not only capable in weapons of cybernetics era, it also has its own military doctrines that are impervious to shock and awe type of attacks. In the 33 day war Hizbollah set multiple world records and standards!

    There is a lot more to cover but this has already become very long.

    my two pennies