Kabul: The Biden administration is accusing Russia of moving to provide advanced military assistance to Iran, including air defense systems, helicopters and fighter jets, part of deepening cooperation between the two nations as Tehran provides drones to support Vladimir Putin’s war of Ukraine.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Friday cited U.S. intelligence assessments for the allegations, saying Russia was offering Iran “an unprecedented level of military and technical support that is transforming their relationship into a full-fledged defense partnership.”
Kirby said Russia and Iran were considering standing up a drone assembly line in Russia for the Ukraine conflict, while Russia was training Iranian pilots on the Sukhoi Su-35 fighter and Iran could receive deliveries of the plane within the year.
The U.S. allegations are part of a deliberate effort by the U.S. to drive global isolation of Russia, in this case targeted at Arab nations who have looked to contain Iran’s regional malevolence and who have not taken a strong stance against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Iran has multiple times rejected in the strongest terms the Western claims of Iran’s delivery of weapons and drones to Russia to be used against Ukraine, saying the country has had defense cooperation with Moscow for long and pursues a resolution of the conflict through dialog and diplomacy.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian last month rejected US claims that Iran had provided Russia with missiles and drones to be used in the Ukraine war.
“Our relations with Russia are based on neighborhood and mutual interests. I would like to emphasize here that the fuss made by some western countries that Iran has provided Russia with missiles and drones to help it in the Ukraine war, claims about the missile part is completely wrong and the drone part is correct,” he said.
However, he added that Iran had provided Russia with a limited number of drones several months before the war in Ukraine.