Russia and Iran ‘glare-into’ US eyes! Iran will manufacture its drones on Russian soil!

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Iranian president Ebrahim Raeesi with Russian President Putin. Photo courtesies AFP

By Haider Abbas

If a little scrutiny is put to Russian President Vladimir Putin speech on September 30, after the signing of treaties on accession of Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and Zaporozhye and Kherson regions to Russia, he spoke of Russian and Iran’s deterrence to US in the same line. Therefore, it just did not come as any surprise when the US newspaper The Washington Post 1 on November 19, broke a story of a secret-deal between Russia and Iran,  that Iran would develop its suicide drones on the Russian soil! War is raging between Russia and Ukraine since February and Iran has stood by Russia, while US, EU and NATO are supporting Ukraine.

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The report says , ‘Iran will help Russia build drones for Ukraine war, Moscow (Russian capital)  and Tehran ( Iran capital) are said to agree on a plan to assemble Iranian-designed weapons on Russian soil. After weeks of savaging Ukrainian cities with Iranian-made drones, Moscow has quietly reached an agreement with Tehran to begin manufacturing hundreds of unmanned weaponized aircraft on Russian soil, according to new intelligence seen by U.S. and other Western security agencies.’ Iranian drones in Russian arsenal have provoked Israel to help Ukraine. Israeli military vehicles have been reportedly spotted inside Ukraine, according to The Jerusalem Post  2 on November 12, saying that  ‘Israeli-made Gaia Amir MRAP armored vehicles were claimed to have been spotted near Kherson-the place over a fierce battle.

The US same newspaper report suggests that ‘Russian and Iranian officials (had) finalized the deal during a meeting in Iran in early November, and the two countries are moving rapidly to transfer designs and key components that could allow production to begin within months, The agreement, if fully realized, would represent a further deepening of a Russia-Iran alliance that already has provided crucial support for Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine. By acquiring its own assembly line, Russia could dramatically increase its stockpile of relatively inexpensive but highly destructive weapons systems that, in recent weeks, have changed the character of the Ukraine war. Russia has deployed more than 400 Iranian-made attack drones against Ukraine since August, with many of the aircraft used in strikes against power plants . Moscow has shifted to a strategy of relentless air assaults on Ukrainian cities to knock out electricity and running water.’

The report continues to inform that ‘while Tehran has sought to portray itself as neutral in the Ukraine war, the appearance of Iranian-made drones over Ukrainian cities has triggered threats of new economic sanctions from Europe. Iran’s leaders may believe that they can avert new sanctions if the drones are physically assembled in Russia. Details of the Iran-Russia deal were finalized (after) a team of Russian defense industry negotiators who traveled to Tehran to work out the logistics.  The officials agreed to discuss the matter on the condition that their identities and nationalities not be revealed, citing the need to protect sensitive and ongoing intelligence-collection efforts. A separate delegation headed by Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev traveled to Tehran on November 9 to discuss, among other topics, economic sanctions and other “Western interference” in their governments’ affairs, according to state-run Russian and Iranian news media. The US White House has declined to comment on the specific report of Russia-Iran collaboration.’

Iran has been doggedly facing US and EU sanctions since decades and of late there has been a spate of new sanctions on it, Iran is already inside the black-list of FATF ( along with North Korea) but despite the uphill tide Iran seem to have bounced-back and has not relented to US and its policies. Ironically, Iran is also under extreme pressure due to its internal turmoil, triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini, in September, which has found waves and waves of anti-Hijab protests in several Iranian cities, which Iran cites as interference in its domestic politics by the Western countries. This is coupled with a looming war threat on Iran by Israel with the US support.

Interestingly, this news has come within days when Iran had tested its hypersonic ballistic missile with a claim that it can reach Israel within 400 second, on November 10, and which has made Israel to go on high-alert as Israel, according to Breaking Defence 3 , had anticipated this Iranian development, and informs that Israel too has accelerated its efforts to launch its advances Arroiw-4 interceptor to counter Iran. Israel also claims that the Iranian push into its technology has come from North Korea, which is an extension of China.

Going by the way the entire EU, US and NATO is ranged against Russia, while the war is raging through the cold-winters, this Russia-Iran bonhomie has come as one of the greatest snub to the West. This deal has now finally come out in the open, after weeks of denial by both the nations. The deal would now enable a mass production of Iranian drones which are to drastically cut into Russian expenditures, and plus, the transfer of design and key components of aerial weapons to Russia will help bolster Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine. Russia is now to be armed with more and more Iranian drones i.e. HESA Shahed 136, Fateh 110 and Zulfiqar, which are now tear into Ukraine. HESA mean ‘witness’ in Persian language. Fateh is victory and 110 is a symbol of Hazrat Ali-the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammed and Zulfqar is name of Ali’s sword. There is now no denying the fact that this whole scenario will build a more deepened relationship between Russia-Iran.

This deal will definitely prove to be a shot in the arm for both Russia and Iran relations, and more for Iran, which has been isolated from the world for decades. Iran is likely to benefit from economic and political aspects too. Iran and Russia’s closeness is also to resonate with a far reaching message to Israel and US and it is quite understandable that in case of a war on Iran, Russia will throw itself into Iran’s defence which is now to be more solidly backed by Russia. Iran had been traditionally inside the erstwhile Soviet Union bloc and owing to Iran’s long-standing posture to US, US another foe- China has also come closer to Iran.  Let’s see what comes as an outcome of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner and writes on international politics.

References:

1-https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/11/19/russia-iran-drones-secret-deal/

2–https://www.jpost.com/international/article-722196

3- https://breakingdefense.com/2022/11/israel-accelerating-arrow-4-sensor-development-due-to-iranian-hypersonic-threat/#:~:text=A%20senior%20commander%20of%20the,Aerospace%20Division%20chief%2C%20told%20reporters.

 

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