WH Issues a Warning on Putin's Dealings With Iran

Russian leader, who'll visit Tehran next week, is said to be turning to Iran for 'hundreds' of drones
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 12, 2022 7:43 AM CDT
WH: Putin Is Turning to Iran for 'Hundreds' of Drones
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Moscow Region Governor Andrei Vorobyov at the Kremlin in Moscow on Monday.   (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

(Newser) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Iran next week, the Kremlin said Tuesday, a day after the US warned that Tehran could provide Moscow with drones for its actions in Ukraine. During a trip to Tehran next Tuesday, Putin will attend a trilateral meeting with the leaders of Iran and Turkey, the so-called Astana format of meetings for Syria-related talks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Putin's visit to Iran will follow US President Biden's trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia this week, where Iran's nuclear program and malign activities in the region will be a key subject of discussion, per the AP. The White House said Monday that it believes that Russia is turning to Iran to provide it with "hundreds" of drones, including those capable of carrying weapons, for use in Ukraine.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said it was unclear whether Iran had already provided any of the vehicles to Russia, but he noted the US has "information" that indicates Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use them as soon as this month. "Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline," Sullivan told reporters Monday, referring to drones by the acronym for "unmanned aerial vehicles." An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman didn't deny the US claim in comments on Tuesday, noting that "Iran's cooperation with Russia in some sophisticated technologies dates to before the Russia-Ukraine war. There has not been any special development in this regard recently."

Iran has long worked on the development of drones, including so-called loitering munitions, the "kamikaze" drones like the Switchblade that the US has delivered to Ukraine. The US decision to publicly reveal that the two countries' chief regional rival was helping to rearm Russia comes as both Israel and Saudi Arabia have resisted joining global efforts to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine. In Tehran, Mohammadreza Pourebrahimi, head of the Iranian Parliament's economic panel, told state-run news agency IRNA that Putin's trip would seek to improve economic relations between the two sanctions-hit nations. Peskov added that on Putin's visit to Tehran, he'll also have a separate meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In March, Erdogan helped mediate talks between Russian and Ukrainian reps in Istanbul. Peskov said there was no discussion about new negotiations.

(Read more Vladimir Putin stories.)

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