- Iran will provide Russia with additional drones and weapons.
- The West has fiercely criticised Iranian drones.
- Protests are putting pressure on Tehran.
According to two senior Iranian officials and two Iranian diplomats, Iran has agreed to provide Russia with surface-to-surface missiles as well as more drones, a move that is sure to outrage the US and other Western powers.
When Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, two formidable Revolutionary Guards generals, and a member of the Supreme National Security Council travelled to Moscow for talks with Russia regarding the delivery of the weapons, a deal was reached on October 6.
The Russians had asked additional drones and those Iranian ballistic missiles with more precision, particularly the Fateh and Zolfaghar missile families, one Iranian official who was informed about the trip alleged.
According to a Western diplomat briefed on the situation, Iran and Russia have agreed to supply surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles such as the Zolfaghar.
One of the drones Iran promised to give is the Shahed-136, a drone with delta wings used as a “kamikaze” air-to-surface attack aircraft. It has a tiny warhead that explodes when it collides with something.
Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar, two Iranian short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, can reach targets up to 700 kilometres distant (186 and 435 miles).
The Iranian envoy denied Western diplomats’ assertions that these transfers violated a 2015 UN Security Council decision.
The provider has no say over how they are used. We are not involved in the Ukraine war, unlike the West. We intend to resolve the issue through diplomatic channels, the envoy continued.
Russia is said to have carried out a number of attacks in recent weeks using Shahed-136 drones made in Iran. The Kremlin denied on Tuesday that Russian forces used Iranian drones to attack Ukraine, while Iran’s foreign ministry dismissed rumours that Russia had purchased drones and other weapons from Iran for use in Ukraine as false.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, stated that the Kremlin was unaware of any Iranian drone deployment in Russia’s assault on Ukraine.
He claimed to be using Russian equipment with a Russian name. Any further enquiries should be sent to the Defence Ministry, it said.
A request for a statement was sent to the ministry, but they did not react right away.
Tensions between Iran and the United States and other Western countries would rise if Iranian missiles and drones began to appear in Moscow’s arsenal during the conflict with Ukraine.
Shipping Is Rapidly Approaching
The US State Department determined that Iranian drones were used in a morning rush hour attack on Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, on Monday, according to a US official. Karinne Jean-Pierre, speaking on behalf of the White House, accused Tehran of lying when it claimed that Russia was not utilising Iranian drones in Ukraine.
According to a European diplomat, Russia is turning to friends like Iran and North Korea for acquisitions because it is getting more difficult for it to build weapons for itself due to restrictions on its industrial sector.
Drones and missiles, according to the European envoy, were the logical next step.
When asked about Russian procurement of Iranian surface-to-surface missiles, a senior US military officer responded, I don’t have anything to share at this time on whether or not that is accurate at this point.
Iran’s leaders are eager to strengthen strategic ties with Russia in order to offset a burgeoning, US-backed Gulf Arab-Israeli coalition that threatens to further shift the Middle East’s power dynamics against the Islamic Republic, which is under Western economic sanctions.
According to Iran’s top Revolutionary Guard commander, Hossein Salami, several of the “world’s large nations” are keen to buy military and defence technology from Iran.
According to state-run media on Tuesday, Rahim Safavi, a military counsellor to Iran’s Supreme Leader, 22 countries want to buy Iranian drones.
Furthermore, widespread protests in response to the death in custody of a 22-year-old woman imprisoned for “inappropriate attire” are putting pressure on Iran’s leaders.
A number of EU member nations urged penalties against Iran on Monday for selling drones to Russia. Simultaneously, the EU opted to censure Tehran for its oppressive anti-unrest tactics.
They (the Russians) wanted to acquire hundreds of our missiles, even mid-range ones, one of the security officials stated, but we informed them that we can ship a few hundred of their requested Zolfaghar and Fateh 110 short-range, surface-to-surface missiles soon.
I can’t say when, but those will be shipped in two to three shipments fairly soon, she added.
Despite the lack of specific evidence, an Eastern European official monitoring Russia’s weapons operations claimed to have information that this weaponry transfer was taking place. According to the source, the Iranian and Russian presidents agreed to proceed with the transfer.
According to a second Iranian envoy, the surface-to-surface short-range Fateh 110 and Zolfaghar missiles will be shipped within 10 days. Moscow had specifically requested them.
Drones Used In Combat
The stakes are exceedingly high for Iran, which has been in talks with Western countries to resuscitate a 2015 agreement that would reduce sanctions in exchange for limits on Tehran’s nuclear programme.
The talks have stalled, and any differences between Tehran and Western powers over Iran’s military sales to Russia or its response to protesters might make a deal even more difficult to reach.
According to US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel on Monday, the US agrees with the UK and France that sending drones to Russia would violate a UN Security Council resolution that supported the 2015 deal.
Due to the sensitivity of the situation, the Western official, who desired to remain anonymous, warned that the provision of missiles, like the transfer of drones, would violate UN resolution 2231.
According to the second diplomat, numerous senior Iranian officials are outraged by the “unjust” sanctions imposed on Iran as a result of its armament exports to Russia.
According to three Iranian officials who spoke to Reuters, Tehran rejected President Vladimir Putin’s offer in September to supply its powerful Arash 2 long-range attack drones.
When asked, one of the officials cited numerous reasons for the refusal, including “some technological issues.”
Furthermore, the commanders of the (Revolutionary) Guards were apprehensive that if Russia employed the Arash 2 drone in Ukraine, Americans would acquire access to our technology.