Friday, March 24, 2023

Russia acquires Iranian drones and complicates nuclear talks

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – Russia has acquired hundreds of Iranian drones that could be used in the Ukraine war, despite a US warning not to sell them to Tehran, according to Western intelligence officials.

It is unknown whether Moscow has begun using drones against Ukrainian targets, but the drones are in good shape and ready for use, officials said on condition of anonymity, touching on sensitive intelligence data. ,

The alleged shipment represents the latest sign of closer military cooperation between the two allied countries.

It also highlights warnings from critics of current talks for Iran to resume compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, which the United States withdrew in 2018. A deal is underway for Tehran and Washington to return to the deal, giving the Iranian government billions. Dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for ending its nuclear program.

Opponents of the deal say lifting sanctions on Tehran could allow Russia to strengthen its military in Ukraine and avoid sanctions imposed on it after launching its offensive by funneling oil and other goods through Iran last February. could.

The Washington Post was the first to report on the arrival of drones in combat in Ukraine.

Kyiv has made excellent use of drones for reconnaissance and strikes on Russian targets during the six-month conflict, relying on technology provided by the United States and other allies, including Turkey. Last month, an explosive device aboard a drone struck the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean peninsula, injuring several. Supporters of Ukraine have also raised funds to buy drones that can be used in war.

Faced with economic sanctions and constraints on its supply chains due to the war, Russia is rapidly turning to Iran as a major ally and arms supplier. The White House last month publicly warned for the first time that Tehran planned to supply “hundreds” of armed drones to Moscow. A few days later, he claimed that Russian officials had made two visits to Iran to arrange a shipment.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahiyan said last month that Tehran has “various cooperation with Russia, including in the defense sector.”

“But we will not help any side involved in this war because we believe it must end,” he said.

Iran’s UN mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Signs of growing cooperation between Moscow and Tehran raise concerns about nuclear talks. President Joe Biden’s administration this week responded to the latest Iranian proposal to resume compliance with the previous agreement.

A fresh exchange of technical details is planned, which will be followed by a meeting of the Joint Commission overseeing the agreement. Tehran and Washington have launched public messaging campaigns, as have Israel, which opposes the deal, indicating a deal may be close.

According to diplomats familiar with Israel’s position, Israel is deeply concerned about reneging on a deal they strongly opposed in 2015, but are also wary of the wording of the proposed European text that includes additional points.


Associated Press writer Joseph Federman contributed to this report from Tel Aviv, Israel.

Nation World News Desk
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