Russia is now providing an “unprecedented level” of military and technical support to Iran which may include advanced military equipment and components, including helicopters and air defense systems in exchange for Tehran supplying drones for the war in Ukraine, senior Biden administration officials say, according to NBC News.
In the spring, Iranian pilots trained in Russia to fly the Sukhoi Su-35, a Russian fighter jet, which the officials say indicates Iran “may begin receiving the aircraft within the next year.”
The relationship between Iran and Russia is transforming into “a full-fledged defense partnership” with weapons and military expertise flowing in both directions, the officials said. Russia is looking to collaborate with Iran on weapons development, including possibly establishing a joint production line for drones in Russia, according to the officials, NBC News says.
The US believes Iran is considering the sale of hundreds of ballistic missiles to Russia, the senior administration officials said. And they expect Iranian support for the Russian military to continue to grow in the coming months.
Russia and Iran’s relationship has warmed to a fully-fledged defense partnership with Russia giving an unprecedented level of military support, said US national security council spokesman John Kirby, BBC reported. The US has seen reports that the two countries are considering joint production of lethal drones, he added.
Kirby said Iran is reportedly considering setting up a jointly-run drone production line in Russia. Iran has previously been accused of supplying Russia with lethal drones for its invasion of Ukraine.