According to US intelligence officials, Iran is angling for Russia's help in fortifying its nuclear program in return for supplying weapons for the war with Ukraine, CNN reported on Friday.
Iran has been attempting to acquire additional nuclear materials from Russia, as well as get help with nuclear fuel fabrication, sources told CNN. The fuel, powering Iran's nuclear reactors, may bring the Islamic Republic significantly closer to creating a nuclear weapon.
However, CNN's sources did highlight that the nuclear proliferation risk is highly dependent on which reactor the fuel goes to. Also, Russia has not stated any intentions to provide the requested aid.
In an Oct. 24 interview with Haaretz, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky touched on the exchange of weapons between the two nations, saying: "How did this alliance of theirs become possible? I will tell you. ...In eight months of full-scale war, Russia has used almost 4,500 missiles against us. And their stock of missiles is dwindling. This is why Russia went looking for affordable weapons in other countries to continue terror. It found them in Iran."
Concerns for Israel
Weapons trade between Russia and Iran has expanded significantly in the last several months, worrying members of the global community who may be future targets of such an alliance - specifically, Israel.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Dmitryo Kuleba about Iran's role in the war between Russia and Ukraine on Oct. 20, and “emphasized the deep concern and the military ties between Iran and Russia,” according to the Prime Minister's office.
In an earlier interview with the independent Russian-language news channel RTVI, Lapid said, “The relations between Iran and Russia are a serious problem not only for Israel but for Ukraine, Europe and the rest of the world. The fact that Russia is using Iranian UAVs to kill Ukrainian civilians is unacceptable.”
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.