The White House said on Friday that Russia appears to be deepening its defense cooperation with Iran and has received hundreds of one-way strike drones that it is using to strike Ukraine.
Citing recently declassified information, the White House said the drones, or Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), were built in Iran, sent across the Caspian Sea and then used by Russian forces against Ukraine.
“Russia has been using Iranian UAVs in recent weeks to attack Kiev and terrorize the Ukrainian population, and the Russia-Iran military partnership appears to be deepening,” White House spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “We are also concerned that Russia is working with Iran to produce Iranian UAVs from within Russia.”
Kirby said the United States had information that Russia was receiving materials from Iran needed to build a drone factory that could be fully operational early next year.
“We are releasing satellite images of the planned location of this UAV factory in Alabuga Special Economic Zone, Russia,” he said.
The US has previously sanctioned Iranian executives at a defense manufacturer over supplying drones to Russia. Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia, but has said they were sent before the February invasion of Russia. Moscow has denied its forces used Iranian drones in Ukraine. A White House official said Iran had transferred several hundred drones to Russia since August.
Support between Iran and Russia is flowing both ways, Kirby said, with Iran seeking billions of dollars worth of military equipment from Russia, including helicopters and radar.
“Russia has offered Iran unprecedented defense cooperation, including in missiles, electronics and air defense,” he said.
“This is a full-scale defense partnership that is harmful to Ukraine, Iran’s neighbors and the international community. We continue to use every tool at our disposal to expose and stop these activities, including sharing this with the public – and we stand ready to do more.”
Kirby said the drone transfers constituted a violation of United Nations rules and that the United States would seek to hold both countries accountable.
Britain, France, Germany, the United States and Ukraine say the supply of Iranian-made drones to Russia violates a 2015 UN Security Council resolution enshrining the Iran nuclear deal.
As per the 2015 UN resolution, a conventional arms embargo on Iran was in effect until October 2020.
Ukraine and Western powers argue that the resolution includes restrictions on missiles and related technologies until October 2023 and could cover the export and purchase of advanced military systems such as drones.
The Iranian and Russian missions to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the US allegations.
“We will continue to impose sanctions on actors involved in the transfer of Iranian military equipment to Russia for use in Ukraine,” Kirby said.
He said a new US advisory issued on Friday was meant to “help companies and other governments better understand the risks posed by Iran’s UAV program and the illicit practices Iran uses to acquire components for it.”
The statement highlighted the main items sought by Iran for drone development, including electronics such as processors and controllers.
(Posted by Fabio Mendes)
Source: CNN Brasil
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