Ukraine intensifies strikes in Kherson: Dwell information on Russia-Ukraine struggle

Recognition…Iranian Army, via Associated Press

Iran this month delivered the first batch of two types of military drones to Russia, as part of a larger order totaling hundreds of air warfare machines, according to an Iranian government adviser and two U.S. government officials who were not authorized to speak about the record.

American officials said Russia could use the Iranian-made drones in its war against Ukraine to conduct air-to-ground strikes, conduct electronic warfare and identify targets.

Iran has officially said it will not supply either side of the conflict with military equipment, but has confirmed that a drone deal with Russia was part of a military deal that preceded the invasion of Ukraine.

For several days in August, Russian transport planes loaded the drone equipment at an airfield in Iran and then flew to Russia, the two US officials said.

The drone shipment and mechanical issues were previously reported by the Washington Post.

Iran’s military deal with Russia is part of a broader Islamic Republic strategy to focus on forming strategic economic partnerships with China and security partnerships with Russia.

That shift, analysts say, accelerated after President Donald J. Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal and imposed tough sanctions on Iran. European companies, fearing secondary sanctions from the United States, subsequently ended almost all business transactions and investments with Iran, prompting the country to look east and north.

“From an Iranian perspective, relations with the US cannot be improved and the Europeans are not powerful enough to protect Iranian interests,” said Sina Azodi, a nonresident staffer at the Atlantic Council, an international affairs research institute. “But Russia and China can help Iran counter the West.”

For its part, Russia has found a welcome new ally in Iran to help it evade sanctions imposed by much of the world after its invasion of Ukraine. President Vladimir V. Putin traveled to Iran in July to meet with the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior officials.

The two types of drones that will be made available to Russia are the Iranian-made Mohajer-6 and Shahed series. According to the Iranian adviser and American officials familiar with the transfer, Russian operators are receiving training on the drones in Iran.

The Mohajer-6 is capable of conducting surveillance and reconnaissance missions, and the Shahed series is considered one of Iran’s most capable military drones, according to Iranian military comments to local news media.

Iran is a pioneer in drone technology with at least four decades of design and manufacturing experience, supplying combat drones to military groups and proxy militias in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Officials in Israel, the United States and some Sunni Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia have said they are increasingly concerned that Iran’s advancing drone technology could destabilize the region and strengthen Iranian-backed militias.

In the shadow war between Iran and Israel, Iranian drones have been involved in ship attacks and have attacked US military bases in Iraq and Syria. Israel has also attacked a secret facility in western Iran believed to be storing hundreds of drones.

Iran has quietly increased its drone sales well beyond the region to become a global player in the drone market. Iran has sold drones to Ethiopia, Sudan and Venezuela; in May it inaugurated a joint drone-manufacturing factory in Tajikistan.

The United States has been warning since last month that Russia intends to receive drones from Iran. The Russian military is experiencing major supply shortages in Ukraine, in part due to sanctions and export controls that force Russia to rely on countries like Iran for supplies and equipment.

The terms of the Iran-Russia drone deal were not immediately clear. The government adviser said no money had yet been exchanged.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian will travel to Moscow on Wednesday to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and discuss recent nuclear deal negotiations, Iran’s foreign ministry said on Monday.

Farnaz Fassihi and

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