Saturday, February 4, 2023

US expresses concern about “growing Iran-Russia defense partnership”

The White House has sounded the alarm at what it calls the flourishing military partnership between Iran and Russia. The US says it would work to "expose and disrupt" the exchange of weapons and know-how between Tehran and Moscow.

“This is a fullscale defense partnership that is harmful to Ukraine, to Iran’s neighbors and quite frankly to the international community,” stated John Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator at the National Security Council.

Kirby added the US was imposing new sanctions on three Russian entities involved in acquiring and using Russian drones. The US also authorized an additional $275 million in military aid for Ukraine on Friday.

He stated the several hundred drones Iran is providing to Russia are being used to kill innocent Ukrainians and destroy civilian infrastructure. He noted Iran was providing Russia with an “unprecedented level” of military and technical support, including the potential sale of ballistic missiles and a new joint production line.

In return, Russia is seeking to collaborate with Iran on weapons development and advanced military components, Kirby claimed, and could be providing Tehran with helicopters and air defense systems along with training pilots in Russia.

He called the Tehran-Moscow pipeline a “full-fledged defense partnership” that the US expects to grow in the coming months.

He said the US has warned other Middle East nations the alliance could pose a threat to their region, and added the US would “bring together like-minded countries” to discuss Iran-Russia cooperation.

Both Tehran and Moscow have repeatedly denied claims that Iran has provided Russia with weapons to be used in the war in Ukraine.

Iranian officials have rejected claims about Tehran’s weapons sales to Russia to be used in the ongoing war against Ukraine, stressing such allegations are aimed at legitimizing the West’s military assistance to Kiev.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has reiterated Iran’s opposition to the dispatch of weapons to the parties involved in the war which he said would only increase human losses and financial costs for both sides.

He added Tehran would continue its efforts to stop the war and promote lasting peace in Europe.

The Iranian foreign minister last month dismissed media controversy over Iran’s alleged support for Russia in the Ukraine war, adding, however, that Tehran had provided Moscow with a limited number of drones months before the war in Ukraine.

He also assured that Iran will not be indifferent if it is proven that Russia has used Iranian drones in the conflict.

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