US seeking to make it harder for Iran to sell drones to Russia

The United States will continue to take "practical, aggressive" steps to make it harder for Iran to sell drones and missiles to Russia.

 Iran's Army chief, Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi and Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Major General Mohammad Bagheri visit an underground site with drones at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on May 28, 2022. (photo credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)
Iran's Army chief, Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi and Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Major General Mohammad Bagheri visit an underground site with drones at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on May 28, 2022.
(photo credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)

The United States will continue to take "practical, aggressive" steps to make it harder for Iran to sell drones and missiles to Russia, State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said on Tuesday, adding that Washington had a number of tools to hold both Moscow and Tehran accountable.

Patel, speaking at a daily press briefing, said such measures could include sanctions and export controls.

"We will continue to take practical, aggressive steps to make these weapons sales harder, including sanctions, export control actions against any entities involved," Patel said.

"Russia deepening an alliance with Iran is something the entire world - especially those in the region - should view as a profound threat."

"Russia deepening an alliance with Iran is something the entire world - especially those in the region - should view as a profound threat."

Vedant Patel

The United States, Britain and France plan to raise the issue of Iranian weapons transfers to Russia during a closed-door UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday, diplomats said without providing details.

Drones are seen during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Semnan, Iran January 4, 2021. Picture taken January 4, 2021 (credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA/REUTERS)Drones are seen during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Semnan, Iran January 4, 2021. Picture taken January 4, 2021 (credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA/REUTERS)

The Russian-Iranian connection

Ukraine has accused Russia of using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in attacks in recent weeks. Iran denies supplying them and on Tuesday the Kremlin also denied using them.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Iran has promised Russia it would supply them with surface-to-surface missiles, in addition to more drones.

The US State Department assessed that Iranian drones were used on Monday in a morning rush hour attack on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, a US official said. White House spokesperson Karinne Jean-Pierre also accused Tehran of lying when it said Iranian drones were not being used by Russia in Ukraine.

The United States in September imposed sanctions on an Iranian company it accused of coordinating military flights to transport Iranian drones to Russia and three other companies it said were involved in the production of Iranian drones.