Iran and Russia have reached an agreement to begin production of attack drones in Russia, according to a new intelligence review by a country that closely monitors Iran’s weapons program.
Iran has begun transferring drone designs and components to Russia after an initial deal was struck earlier this month, according to a source familiar with the review.
U.S. officials say Russia has received hundreds of drones from Tehran, causing devastating damage in Ukraine.
Earlier this month, the Iranian government admitted for the first time that it had sent a limited number of drones to Russia in the months leading up to its invasion of Ukraine.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahi said in a statement to reporters, “Some Western countries have accused Iran of helping the war in Ukraine by providing drones… Tehran
The aim is for Russia to produce thousands of new attack aircraft using Iranian components and designs, the source said. If the two countries go through with their plans, production is expected to begin within a few months and the drones could be used by Russia on the Ukrainian battlefield next year, the source said.
It is a move that will further strengthen the alliance between Tehran and Moscow and provoke anger in Ukraine and its Western allies, including the United States.
The Washington Post first reported the deal.
The effort comes after CNN and other news outlets reported earlier this year that Iran was preparing to send more weapons to Russia, including surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missiles and drones that could carry out more strikes.
A source in the review said those reports have raised concerns in Iran, which appears to have prompted the regime to rethink plans to have Russia produce drones instead of directly transferring them to Iran.
The source said that the manufacturing process for the attack drones is not as complicated as the manufacturing of other weapons.
A spokesman for Iran’s mission at the United Nations did not explicitly deny the idea that Iran would help Russia produce drones, but said Iran respects the principles of “sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.”
A spokesman told CNN that Iran and Russia had “maintained bilateral defense, science and research cooperation for years” before Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has prioritized increasing defense cooperation with other countries,” the spokesman said, as a UN Security Council resolution restricting the export of certain weapons to or from Iran expires in October 2020.
Several countries, including the United States, said that Iran’s supply of drones to Russia violated the resolution. Violations of UNSCR 2231
CNN has reached out to the Russian Embassy in Washington for comment.
Asked to comment on the assessment, White House National Security Council spokesman Adrian Watson said: “Iran and Russia can lie to the world, but they can’t hide the truth: Tehran is aiding and abetting Ukrainian civilians with weapons and aid.” Russia in the work. It’s another sign of how isolated Iran and Russia are.
“The United States — along with allies and partners — is pursuing all means to expose, interdict, and confront Iran’s supply of these munitions and Russia’s use of them against the people of Ukraine. “We will continue to provide Ukraine with the necessary security support to defend itself, including air defense systems,” Watson said in a statement.
Drones have played a major role in the war since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February, but their use has increased since the summer, when the US and Kyiv said Moscow bought drones from Iran. In recent weeks, these Iranian drones have been used to target critical energy infrastructure in Ukraine.
Iranian drones are known as “forced missiles” because they can hover over a designated target area for a specified period of time and strike only after enemy assets have been identified.
They are small, portable and easy to touch, but their main advantage is that they are difficult to detect and can be shot from a distance.