Russian officials have visited Iran twice to examine drones, White House says

The White House said it has information that Russian officials recently visited an airfield in Iran twice to examine weapons-capable drones for use in its ongoing war against Ukraine.

Russian officials reportedly visited Kashan airfield in central Iran on June 8 and July 5 to view the drones suggesting Moscow’s “interest” in acquiring the equipment.

The Biden administration released satellite images it said showed Iranian drones Shahed-191 and Shahed-129 in flight at the airfield, while a Russian delegation transport plane was on the ground.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Saturday that the administration has “information that the Iranian government is preparing to supply Russia with several hundred drones.” [unmanned aerial vehicles]”.

“We assess that an official Russian delegation recently received a showcase of attack-capable Iranian drones. We are releasing these images captured in June showing Iranian drones that the Russian government delegation saw that day,” Ms. Sullivan.

“This suggests continued Russian interest in acquiring attack-capable Iranian drones.”

He added that according to intelligence reports, officials believe the June visit “was the first time a Russian delegation has visited this airfield for such a showcase.”

The report was released as President Joe Biden met with leaders from six Gulf Arab countries as well as Egypt, Jordan and Iraq for a summit.

At the summit, Mr Biden told his counterparts that the United States was committed to the Middle East and “will not leave leaving a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia or Iran”.

The Biden administration claimed last Monday that Iran was preparing to supply Russia with “hundreds” of drones, including weapons-capable drones.

However, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, in a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, called reports that Tehran was selling drones to Moscow “baseless”.

“These kinds of claims parallel to Biden’s visit to occupied Palestine, or to Israel, are in line with political intentions and goals,” Amirabdollahian was quoted as saying by Iran’s Ministry of Affairs website. foreign.

“We oppose any initiative that could lead to the continuation and escalation of conflicts.”

A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry added on Friday: “At the start of the trip, he accused Iran of supporting the killing of Ukrainians! Lies are a thriving currency among American politicians! Subverting the truth for evil purposes.

Mr Biden is seeking to strengthen coordination between the response of Middle Eastern allies to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to visit Iran next week where he will attend a meeting with Iranian and Turkish heads of state.

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Post expires at 1:30am on Saturday July 23rd, 2022