Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reveals the "Karrar" drone bomber, which he says will be a "messenger of death" against "enemies of mankind".  (Source: Reuters)

Russian officials earlier in the weekend announced that uranium rods had been loaded into the nation's first reactor and it was being powered up. Iran's atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi (L) and head of the Russian nuclear agency Sergei Kiriyenko are shown here speaking to reporters about the success.  (Source: AFP)

  (Source: AP)

The Iranian nuclear plant in the southern city of Bushehr began construction in 1979, but was not completed until this year (top view is from 2003, bottom view from 2005)  (Source: DigitalGlobe-ISIS)
Despite international sanctions Iran is advancing rapidly

Iran, much like North Korea, has defied U.S. attempts to limit its military expansion and nuclear development.  That, along with its ties to terrorist groups, caused former President George W. Bush to label Iran part of the "Axis of Evil" (Iraq, Iran, and North Korea).

Despite the strict sanctions imposed by the U.S. and some of its allies against the Middle Eastern nation, Iran is rapidly advancing in terms of technology thanks, in part, to a close relationship with Russia and growing ties to China.

Over the weekend, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appeared at a Iranian Ministry of Defense ceremony to celebrate the completion of Iran's first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of bombing attacks.

It has been known by the U.S. Defense Department for some time that Iran had UAVs.  However, past models were small drones, only capable of monitoring.

The new drone, dubbed the "Karrar", looks to be almost 2 meters long and has a range of 1,000km (620 miles).  It can carry two 250-pound (115kg) bombs, or a precision bomb weighing 500 pounds.  

President Ahmandinejad said the drone was primarily a messenger of peace, but could become a "messenger of death" if circumstances mandate it.  He cheers, "This jet is a messenger of honor and human generosity and a savior of mankind, before being a messenger of death for enemies of mankind.  The key message is friendship.  We must make efforts to render all the enemy's weapons useless with our defense potential."

The bomber later was shown making a successful test flight.

Over the weekend Iran also made another key technological advance.  In the southern city of Bushehr, Russian and Iranian engineers on Saturday began loading radioactive uranium rods into the nation's first nuclear power plant.

The plant took 31 years to finish.  Construction began in 1979, but encountered multiple freezes and delays due to a mix of financial issues and rocky foreign relations.  The plant will initially produce 500 MW of power, and will later produce up to 1 GW of power.

There's much fear in the international community that the plant could produce enriched nuclear materials for use with nuclear weapons.  Iranian and Russian officials ardently deny that charge and say that as a sovereign nation Iran has the right to nuclear power.

The U.S. criticized Russia for participating in Iran's nuclear program, but stopped short of condemning the reactor.  U.S. officials shared that its intelligence showed no current "proliferation risk" stemming from the plant, despite initial fears.  

Israel, though, is still convinced that the plant is a prelude to a nuclear arsenal, and it condemned the move. 

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