White House warns against deepening military relations between Russia and Iran

The White House warned on Friday that Russia and Iran are laying the groundwork for joint arms production, citing US intelligence regarding deepening military ties between Moscow and Tehran.

The warning comes as Russia has procured explosive drones from Iran for use in Ukraine, targeting the country’s energy and power infrastructure; striking residential buildings, parks and streets; and killing and injuring civilians.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Friday that Moscow and Tehran are “considering the creation of a joint production line of deadly drones in Russia.”

Anonymous Western officials have would have observed that Russia has exhausted its stocks of drones.

A public British intelligence assessment said drone strikes had ceased to be reported since around November 17, adding that Russia “has probably nearly exhausted its current stockpile but will likely seek resupply”.

Kirby, during a briefing with reporters, said Russia aspired to work on a joint production line with Iran, but the United States did not know how the Iranians weighed their decision to participate.

“As we get more information and more fidelity to anything that we can share with you, we will,” Kirby said.

One of the benefits for Iran, Kirby added, is that Russia stands ready to offer Iran “an unprecedented level of military and technical support,” which could include Russia supplying military components. advanced to Iran.

Kirby did not specify what kind of military equipment Moscow would be able to supply Tehran. The United States has used sanctions to stifle sources of funding from Iran and its foreign business connections that could be used for weapons development and its nuclear activity that could enable it to manufacture a weapon of mass destruction.

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly issued a statement backing the US assessment, adding that “the UK will continue to expose this desperate alliance and hold both countries to account.”

“Iran is now one of Russia’s main military supporters,” Cleverly said.

“The UK is concerned that Russia intends to supply Iran with more advanced military components, allowing the regime to build up its weapons capability, further increasing the risk to regional and international security.”

While the United States and outside experts say they have seen no indication that Russia is helping Iran with its nuclear program, Kirby warned that Russia’s deepening military ties with Iran were driving to “a full-fledged defense partnership”.

“What I want to convey to everyone is the forest in front of us, which is a deep and nascent, almost full-fledged defense partnership here between Russia and Iran,” he said. .

“And I think that’s important because…this budding relationship, this partnership between these two countries is not just bad for the people of Ukraine…but it’s dangerous for the region, for the Middle East region, for Iran’s neighbours.”

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