The Iranian government admitted, earlier this month, for the first time that it had sent a limited number of planes to Russia in the months before it began its invasion of Ukraine.
“Some Western countries have accused Iran of helping Russia in the Ukraine war by providing drones,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told reporters in Tehran. “We provided a limited number of aircraft to Russia in the months before the start of the war.”
The source explained that the aim of the agreement is for Russia to produce thousands of new attack drones using Iranian components, and said that if the two countries go ahead with full force in their plan, production is expected to start within a few months, and Russia will likely use the aircraft in the battles in Ukraine. Next year.
Such a move would strengthen the partnership between Tehran and Moscow, and is likely to infuriate Ukraine and its Western allies, including the United States.
The Washington Post was the first to report on the agreement.
CNN and other media had previously reported that Iran was preparing to send weapons, including short-range (surface-to-surface) ballistic missiles and drones, to Russia before the end of the year.
The source familiar with the assessment said that these reports had caused concern in Iran, which apparently prompted the Iranian regime to rethink its approach to Russia’s plan to manufacture drones rather than transporting them directly from Iran.
The source explained that the process of producing attack drones is not complicated compared to the production of other weapons.
CNN asked the Russian embassy in Washington and the Iranian mission to the United Nations to comment.
When asked for comment from the White House, National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said: “Iran and Russia can lie to the world, but they can’t hide the facts: Tehran is helping kill Ukrainian civilians by providing weapons and assisting Russia in its operations. It’s another signal.” over the isolation of Iran and Russia.
Drones have played an important role in the conflict since Russia launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine in late February, but their use has increased since the summer, when the United States and Kiev said Moscow had acquired drones from Iran.
In recent weeks, these Iranian drones have been used to target Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.