Tags: u.s. | warns | russia | iran | military

US Warns of 'Unprecedented Russian-Iranian Military Partnership'

vladimir putin shakes hands with ebrahim raisi
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) leaders' summit in Samarkand on Sept. 15. (ALEXANDR DEMYANCHUK/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty)

By    |   Wednesday, 14 December 2022 07:46 AM EST

The United States National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned that “support is flowing both ways” between Russia and Iran in an emerging and growing military partnership.

Kirby said that Russia provides “an unprecedented level of military and technical support” to the Islamic Republic of Iran in exchange for drones it can use against Ukraine. In early November, Iran finally owned up to providing drones to the Russian military after previously denying it. These lethal Iranian-manufactured drones are frequently used to terrorize civilians in Ukraine and in the Middle East.

Washington warned previously that “dozens” of Iranian technicians traveled to Russian-occupied Crimea to assist the Russian military with the handling of its drones. While Russia is traditionally ranked as a world military power it lags behind the Western NATO states in critical areas such as drone technology.

With Russia possibly interested in replenishing its arsenal with Iran-sourced ballistic missiles, and with both countries facing international sanctions, Moscow and Tehran seem to believe that full-fledged strategic military cooperation between them is mutually beneficial. Iran, for its part, obviously expects increased Russian military assistance to bolster Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East.

“Russia is seeking to collaborate with Iran on areas like weapons development and training,” Kirby said on Friday. “We are concerned that Russia intends to provide Iran with advanced military components,” which “could include air defense.”

Washington and its Middle Eastern allies, like Israel, have long been concerned about Russia exporting its S-400 defense system to Iran.

This Russian aerial defense system is considered one of the most advanced in the world and Tehran could deploy it in the vicinity of its sensitive nuclear sites. If it does so, this defense system could seriously undermine any Western or Israeli military effort to neutralize Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

In 2019, Russia reportedly rejected Tehran’s request for the S-400 aerial defense system amid growing tensions in the Persian Gulf region. At the time, Ruslan Pukhov, head of the Center of Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, determined that delivering the S-400 system to Iran would undermine Russia’s important relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“If Russia decides to provide Iran with S-400, it will be a direct challenge to Saudi Arabia and Israel, so it will be against Russia’s own national interests,” Pukhov concluded at the time.

Three years later, the situation is very different. Russia faces financial and diplomatic isolation after invading Ukraine, and Jerusalem has increasingly criticized the war. Unlike in 2019, guarding its relationship with Israel does not seem to be a primary concern to Russia, and granting the S-400 system to Tehran could be in Moscow’s strategic interests.

However, Russian military assistance to Iran would likely not be limited to the aerial defense system. Moscow also could deliver helicopters and other advanced military equipment to the aging Iran air force.

Earlier this year, Iranian pilots received training in Russia to fly the Russian-manufactured Su-35 fighter jet. Officials speculate that this signals that Tehran “may begin receiving the aircraft within the next year.”

Washington and its allies are increasingly concerned that the Su-35, which is considered the most advanced Russian fighter jet, could soon be delivered to Iran in exchange for Iranian drones and ballistic missiles.

An unnamed senior Biden administration official warned that the emerging Russian-Iranian military partnership constitutes a threat to both Ukraine and the Middle East.

“This partnership poses a threat not just to Ukraine, but to Iran’s neighbors in the region,” the Biden administration official said. “We have shared this information with partners in the Middle East and around the world.”

This article originally appeared on ALL ARAB NEWS and is reposted with permission.


The United States National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned that "support is flowing both ways" between Russia and Iran in an emerging and growing military partnership. Kirby said that Russia provides "an unprecedented level of military and technical support" to...
u.s., warns, russia, iran, military
Wednesday, 14 December 2022 07:46 AM
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