image Photo: Reuters

Defiant Iran to send Russia more UAVs, missiles

The Islamic Republic will provide Russia with more drones and surface-to-surface missiles, two senior Iranian officials and two Iranian diplomats told Reuters, in a move that is likely to infuriate the United States and other Western powers.

By Erin Viner

This, despite denials in recent days from Tehran that it has never supplied unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, drones) to Moscow; and from the Kremlin, which says its forces have never used Iranian drones to attack Ukraine.

Ukraine has reported multiple deadly Russian airstrikes in recent weeks with Iranian-made Shahed-136 “suicide drones,” also known as “Kamikazes.”

According to the exclusive report, however, the deal was forged on 6 October when Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, two senior officials from Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and an official from the Supreme National Security Council traveled to Moscow for talks with the Kremlin about the delivery of the weapons.

“The Russians had asked for more drones and those Iranian ballistic missiles with improved accuracy, particularly the Fateh and Zolfaghar missiles family,” said one of the Iranian diplomats.

A Western official briefed on the matter confirmed that an agreement is in place between Iran and Russia to provide surface-to-surface short range ballistic missiles, including the Zolfaghar.

The Iranian diplomat rejected accusations by Western officials that such transfers violate United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal with Iran.

“Where they are being used is not the seller’s issue. We do not take sides in the Ukraine crisis like the West. We want an end to the crisis through diplomatic means,” the diplomat said.

Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine 24 February in a war condemned by Israel and the West.