By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Worthy News) – The U.S. warns that Russia and Iran’s relationship has turned into a “full-fledged” defense partnership adding to concerns their cooperation will lead to more bloodshed in Ukraine and elsewhere, including Israel.
The Biden administration said Russia was providing advanced military assistance to Iran, including air defense systems, helicopters, and fighter jets, after Tehran sent drones to support Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Despite mounting evidence, Tehran and Moscow denied Russia is using Iranian drones to attack targets in Ukraine. However, there has been video footage, numerous eyewitness accounts, and even official declarations suggesting otherwise.
Last month Iran acknowledged for the first time it had supplied Moscow with drones but said they were sent recently “before the war” in Ukraine, not ruling out they could be used now.
In Ukraine, officials warned on Friday of a winter-long power deficit after repeated Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure.
“Russia is giving an unprecedented level of military and technical support,” stressed US national security council spokesman John Kirby. He said the cooperation was “transforming their relationship into a full-fledged defense partnership.”
He added that the United States had seen reports that the two countries are considering joint production of lethal drones. Australia has announced it sanctions three Iranians and one Iranian business for supplying Russia with drones to use against Ukraine.
Kirby said Russia and Iran were considering standing up a drone assembly line in Russia for the Ukraine conflict. He stressed that Russia that in turn, Russia was training Iranian pilots on the Sukhoi Su-35 fighter, and Iran could receive deliveries of the plane within the year.
That could also further destabilize the Middle East, where Israel has expressed mounting concerns about arch-rival Iran’s increased military capabilities.
“These fighter planes will significantly strengthen Iran’s air force relative to its regional neighbors,” Kirby acknowledged.
It was unclear whether the developments could further undermine international efforts to limit Iran’s ongoing nuclear program. Israel has repeatedly warned that Iran was actively searching for and developing nuclear weapons.
Separately the White House said that besides seeking closer ties with Iran, Moscow has also turned to North Korea for artillery as the nine-month war in Ukraine grinds on. North Korea has denied the claim.
The White House has repeatedly sought to spotlight Russia’s reliance on Iran and North Korea, another broadly isolated nation on the international stage, for support as it prosecutes its war against Ukraine.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called the Iran-Russia collaboration a “desperate alliance.” And, “Iran is now one of Russia’s top military backers,” he said in published remarks. “Their sordid deals have seen the Iranian regime send hundreds of drones to Moscow, which have been used to attack Ukraine’s critical infrastructure and kill civilians.”
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