US asks Iran to stop delivering drones to Russia: Report

The United States is pushing Iran to stop selling combat drones to Russia as part of discussions on a broader unwritten understanding between Washington and Tehran to de-escalate tensions, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the matter. Moscow and Tehran have repeatedly refuted reports about the use of Iranian drones in Ukraine.

The US is pressing Iran to stop selling armed drones to Russia, which west claims Moscow is using in the war in Ukraine, as well as spare parts for the unmanned aircraft, the daily said, citing an Iranian official and another person familiar with the talks.

The news comes as Washington and Tehran are trying to ease tensions and revive broader talks over Iran’s nuclear program.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on Tuesday that he would welcome any Iranian steps to de-escalate its “growing nuclear threat.”

These discussions have taken place alongside the negotiations on a prisoner exchange deal last week, the newspaper added.

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

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in November 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.

Last Monday, the Iranian diplomat said that Tehran’s defense cooperation with Moscow has never involved the use of Iranian drones or weapons in the Ukraine war as Russia itself is one of the world’s biggest arms producers and exporters.

“We have provided no parties [to the war] with drones for use in Ukraine,” he asserted.

Amirabdollahian further stated that last year he had himself asked Ukraine to submit its alleged anti-Iran evidence to Iranian military officials.

The Ukrainian side shunned a meeting with an Iranian military delegation in Warsaw, Poland, and it provided no acceptable documents in a later meeting in Oman, he added.

“It was agreed that the Ukrainian side will once again review its documents for examination in another meeting with the Iranian side. We repeatedly called for such a meeting, but the Ukrainian side did not attend a new round of talks,” he continued.

The Iranian foreign minister also expressed Iran’s objection to the arming of any party to the Ukraine war, saying the flow of American and Western weapons to the former Soviet country will stoke insecurity and instability there and cause further deaths and destruction.

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