July 12, 2022

Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline.

United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in a White House press briefing on Monday.

Why It Matters: National Security Advisor Sullivan said the White House believes Iran — one of four designated state sponsors of terror — is planning to aid Russia in the country’s ongoing war in Ukraine by providing it with unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), including weapons-capable UAVs. He noted it was not clear whether Iran has already begun to provide Russia with this equipment, but that their information suggests Iran is scheduled to begin training Russian forces in drone operations as soon as this month.

  • Timing: This announcement comes as President Biden is set to leave for his trip to Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. The Associated Press reports: “The U.S. decision to publicly reveal that the two countries’ chief regional rival was helping to rearm Russia comes as both Israel and Saudi Arabia have resisted joining global efforts to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine due to their domestic interests.”
  • Concerning the White House’s announcement, Iranian Foreign Minister spokesman Nasser Kanaani said: “Iran’s cooperation with Russia in some sophisticated technologies dates to before the Russia-Ukraine war. There has not been any special development in this regard recently.”
  • In related news: On Tuesday, the Russian government announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be visiting Iran next week.

White House: Iran set to deliver armed drones to Russia (Associated Press)

Putin set to visit Iran next week (Associated Press)

by Jenna Lee,