Russian officials visited Iran to view drones, says US official

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JEDDAH: The US believes Russian officials recently visited an airbase in Iran to see attack-capable drones, according to US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Saturday.

The US warned earlier this week that it had intelligence indicating that Iran is prepared to supply Russia with up to several hundred drones, some of which are capable of carrying weapons, and that Tehran is ready to train Russian soldiers to use them. Iran’s foreign minister strongly rejected this.

“We believe an official Russian team recently saw a demonstration of Iranian attack-capable UAVs….

According to Sullivan, “this is the first time a Russian delegation has visited this airfield for such a demonstration.”

The statement provided satellite footage from June 8 depicting Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) “that the Russian government delegation witnessed that day.” According to the report, comparable equipment was seen during a second Russian visit to the airfield on July 5.

In a phone chat with his Ukrainian counterpart on Friday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian dismissed as unfounded US allegations that Iranian drones were delivered to Russia for use in the Ukraine war.

Iran, which has given UAVs to its Middle Eastern allies, launched its first navy drone-carrying division in the Indian Ocean on Friday, as US President Joe Biden visited the region.

On Saturday, Biden is scheduled to meet with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia to discuss combining regional missile and defense capabilities to prevent Iranian drone and missile assaults in the Middle East.

“Russia is effectively betting on Iran, and we are betting on a more connected, stable, peaceful, and affluent Middle East area,” a senior US administration official said on Saturday.

Source: Arab News

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