U.S. and allied security officials revealed that Iran has agreed to sell Russia “Iranian-made surface-to-surface missiles intended for use against Ukrainian cities and troop positions,” reported The Washington Post on Sunday.
According to officials, the agreement marks the first time an Iran-to-Russia missiles sale has gone forward since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Intelligence reports provided to the Post show that Russia, per a deal struck on Sept. 18, will buy the Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar short-range ballistic missiles, which are capable of hitting targets at 300 and 700 kilometers, respectively. The reports hold that Iran is already preparing the first shipment of missiles.
News of the missiles deal follows reports in August that Russia has been buying remotely piloted aircraft from Iran, including the Mohajer-6 and the Shahed-series drones. Russian cargo flights reportedly picked up the first order of drones in late August, according to The Washington Post; Iranians allegedly are training Russian soldiers in how to use them in Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“They teach the Russians how to use kamikaze drones, and directly monitor the launch of drones on Ukrainian civilian targets, including strikes on Mykolaiv and Odesa,” the Ukrainian National Resistance Center said on Wednesday.
The Shahed-136s are kamikaze drones – designed to crash into their targets and – according to The Washington Post – are capable of delivering explosive payloads at distances of up to 1,500 miles. On Sept. 13, Ukraine reported shooting down an Iranian-made Shahed drone.
According to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, Russia only has around 300 Iranian drones left but is planning to buy several thousand more from Iran.
“We know how to shoot them down. We are doing so and studying them,” the defense minister noted.
Reznikov also said that Russia only has 124 Iskander surface-to-surface missiles left.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian denied that Iran has provided drones or other weapons to Russia and claimed that the Islamic regime has not supported either side in the war.
“We believe that arming either side will prolong the war, and we do not think that war is the right way – not in Ukraine, not in Yemen, not in Syria, not in Afghanistan,” said Amir-Abdollahian, according to Israel’s Maariv news.
The Washington Post paints a different story: “Independent news outlets in recent days published photos of the remains of what appear to be Iranian-made drones used in strikes against Ukrainian targets, calling into question Iran’s repeated denials that it has supplied such weapons to its ally Russia. Pentagon officials also publicly confirmed the use of Iranian drones in Russian airstrikes, as well as Ukraine’s success in shooting some of the drones down.”
The Ukrainian defense minister noted that Russia’s indiscriminate use of hundreds of high-precision missiles against civilian objects in Ukraine has limited Russia’s ability to strike military targets. According to some Ukrainian reports, Russia is now so desperate for missiles that it might be using S-300 anti-air missiles in ground attacks.
The Jerusalem Post reported that it’s unclear how Israel plans to respond, if at all, to Iran’s reported military support for Russia. The use of Iranian suicide drones and missiles in Ukraine not only helps Russia in the battle, but also provides the Iranian regime with insights about how its military equipment functions in combat.