The White House on Friday said that Russia may provide fighter jets to Iran as part of the expanding defence relationship between the two countries, The Hill reported.
White House spokesperson on national security issues, John Kirby in a virtual press briefing told reporters that the U.S. has “additional information” that Iran’s support for Russia’s war in Ukraine is growing. Kirby further said that Russia has been offering Iran “unprecedented support,” and the U.S. government believes Moscow may provide Iran with fighter jets. Iran is looking to purchase billions of dollars worth of equipment from Russia, such as helicopters and radar.
“We’re going to be watching this very closely to see what, if anything, actually transpires and what, if any, transactions are actually made,” Kirby said, as quoted by The Hill.
“There is this growing defence cooperation between Iran and Russia, and it’s not only certainly going to make things in Ukraine more difficult, but it could certainly make the security situation in the Middle East more difficult,” Kirby added.
Previously too, the White House had warned of deepening military ties between Russia and Iran amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Last July, National security adviser Jake Sullivan said that Iran is preparing to provide Russia with hundreds of unmanned drones for use in Ukraine.
CNN had in November reported that Iran is preparing to send additional weapons to Russia, including short-range missiles. Kirby in December said that the US believed Moscow and Tehran “are considering the establishment of a joint production line for lethal drones in Russia”, according to The Hill.
Recently, Iran for the first time acknowledged that it provided drones to Russia months before the Ukraine war.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told reporters in the capital, Tehran, that Iran “gave a limited number of drones to Russia months before the Ukraine war,” reported CNN.
The statement by Iran’s Foreign Minister came after previous denials by Tehran that it had supplied Russia with weapons for use in Ukraine, saying it “has not and will not” do so.
However, Amir-Abdollahian did not say if the drones that were supplied to Moscow were the type that carries explosives.
“Some western countries have accused Iran of helping the war in Ukraine by providing drones and missiles to Russia. The part regarding missiles is completely wrong. The part about drones is correct, we did provide a limited number of drones to Russia in the months before the start of the war in Ukraine,” Amir-Abdollahian told reporters in Tehran, reported CNN.
Self-detonating drones have played a significant role in the conflict since Russia launched its invasion in late February. They are capable of circling for some time in an area identified as a potential target and striking only once an enemy asset is identified.
Also Read: Iran set to welcome Sukhoi-35 fighter jets after supplying deadly drones to Russia