Iran delivered to Russia the first batch of two types of military drones this month as part of a larger order totaling hundreds of aerial warfare machines, according to an Iranian government adviser and two US administration officials who were not authorized to speak on a record.
US officials said that Russia could deploy Iranian-made drones in its war against Ukraine to conduct air-to-ground attacks, carry out electronic warfare and identify targets.
Iran officially said it would not supply military equipment to either side of the conflict but confirmed that the drone deal with Russia was part of a military agreement that preceded the invasion of Ukraine.
Over several days in August, Russian transport planes loaded drone equipment at an airport in Iran and then headed to Russia, according to US officials, but the first shipment of drones provided by Iran, US officials said, contained Mechanical planes and drones. technical problems.
The drone’s shipment and mechanical problems were previously reported Washington Post.
The Iranian military agreement with Russia is part of the Islamic Republic’s larger strategy to focus on forming strategic economic partnerships with China and security partnerships with Russia.
Analysts say this shift accelerated after President Donald J. Trump exited the nuclear deal and imposed tough sanctions on Iran. Then, European companies, fearing secondary sanctions from the United States, terminated nearly all trade and investment transactions with Iran, prompting the country to look east and north.
“From Iran’s point of view, relations with the United States cannot be improved, and the Europeans are not strong enough to protect Iranian interests,” said Sina Azoudi, a non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank for international affairs. But Russia and China can help Iran confront the West.
Russia, for its part, found A new ally is welcome in Iran To help it evade the sanctions imposed by most countries of the world after its invasion of Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin traveled to Iran in July to meet the country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and other senior officials.
Two types of drones being supplied to Russia are the Iranian-made Muhajir 6 series and the Shahid. Russian operators are receiving drone training in Iran, according to the Iranian adviser and US officials familiar with the transfer.
Al-Muhajir 6 has the ability to carry out surveillance and reconnaissance missions, and the Shahid series is among the most capable military drones ever built in Iran, according to statements by the Iranian military to local media.
Iran is a pioneer in drone technology, has at least four decades of design and manufacturing experience, and has been providing combat drones to military groups and client militias in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.
Officials in Israel, the United States and some Sunni Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia have said they are doing so An increased feeling of anxiety Iran’s advanced drone technology could destabilize the region and empower Iranian-backed militias.
In the Shadow war between Iran and IsraelIranian drones have participated in attacks on ships US military bases targeted in Iraq and Syria. Israel has too attack A secret facility in western Iran where hundreds of drones are believed to have been stored.
Iran quietly Increased sales of drones Far from the region as it strives to be a global player in the drone market. Iran has sold drones to Ethiopia, Sudan and Venezuela. In May, it opened a joint plant for the manufacture of drones in Tajikistan.
The The United States warns Since last month, Russia intends to receive drones from Iran. The Russian military is experiencing significant supply shortfalls in Ukraine, in part due to sanctions and export controls, forcing Russia to rely on countries like Iran for supplies and equipment.
The terms of the Iran-Russia drone deal were not immediately clear. The government adviser said no money had yet been exchanged.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry announced, on Monday, that the Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, will travel to Moscow, on Wednesday, to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, to discuss the latest negotiations to reach a nuclear agreement.