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Russia and Iran deepen defence cooperation

Friday, 8 December 2023, 02:25
Russia and Iran deepen defence cooperation

Defence cooperation between Iran and Russia has been deepening, with both countries seeking to increase their military capabilities.

Source: John Kirby, US National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator, at a press briefing; Voice of America

Details: Commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin's meeting with Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi in Moscow, Kirby noted that a "growing burgeoning defence partnership" between the two countries has been "seen in recent months, many months".


Quote: "The obvious proof of that are the drones that Iran continues to provide Russia. Heck, they’ve helped Russia now create a manufacturing facility on Russian soil so that they can build their own Iranian-model drones which are continuing to attack the people of Ukraine and Ukrainian infrastructure."

More details: Kirby noted that it was likely that Iran also wanted to benefit from such a partnership: "We have reason to believe that they want their hands on some sophisticated Russian military capabilities. Attack helicopters, maybe fixed-wing aircraft, missiles - cruise and/or ballistic. I can't sit here and tell you that we’ve seen actual evidence of the movement of those kinds of defence articles. But there’s clearly a growing relationship in the defence realm between these two countries."

Kirby emphasised that such cooperation is dangerous not only for Ukrainians but also for the inhabitants of the Middle East. He said the modern capabilities that Iran can obtain were only making its "destabilising activity all the more more worrisome".


  • On 7 December, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi in Moscow. Among other topics, they discussed trade between their countries, which has increased by 20% over the past year amid trade in assault drones.
  • The fact that Iran is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred drones was revealed back in July 2022. Since then, the Russian army has been constantly attacking Ukraine with Iranian drones.
  • In August 2023, The Washington Post obtained internal documents about the operations of a plant producing Iranian drones at the facility in the Republic of Tatarstan's Alabuga Special Economic Zone. Its aim is to domestically build 6,000 drones by the summer of 2025.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that Russia is supplying Iran with cyber weapons, including digital surveillance tools, in order to get the relatively cheap and effective drones it uses to strike Ukrainian infrastructure facilities. 

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