The U.S. says Russian officials visited an Iranian airfield multiple times in recent weeks to view attack-capable drones it is looking to obtain for its attack against Ukraine.
Iran showed the drones to Russian officials at Kashan Airfield on June 8 and July 15, the White House said. The Biden administration has published satellite imagery showing Shahed-191 and Shahed-129 drones flying at the airfield at the same time a Russian delegation transport plane was on the ground.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan announced the administration’s findings.
The administration has “information that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with several hundred UAVs,” Sullivan said in a statement.
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UAVs are unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.
“We assess an official Russian delegation recently received a showcase of Iranian attack-capable UAVs. We are releasing these images captured in June showing Iranian UAVs that the Russian government delegation saw that day,” Sullivan said. “This suggests ongoing Russian interest in acquiring Iranian attack-capable UAVs.”
Sullivan also said the U.S. understands that the visit in June was the first time a Russian delegation “has visited this airfield for such a showcase.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said in a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart on Friday that the U.S. accusations about Iranian drones being acquired by Russia for war against Ukraine are “baseless.”
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“This sort of claims parallel with Biden’s visit to occupied Palestine, or Israel, are in direction of political intentions and purposes,” Amirabdollahian said, according Iran’s Foreign Ministry’s website. “We oppose any move that could lead to continuation and intensifying conflicts.”
Iran has supplied UAVs to its Middle Eastern allies, and announced Friday its first naval drone-carrying division in the Indian Ocean.
This comes as President Joe Biden visits the Middle East to explain his vision for the region. He is expected to meet with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia on Saturday and discuss implementing missile and defense capabilities in the region as a counter to Iranian drone and missile attacks.
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“Russia is effectively making a bet on Iran and we are making a bet on a more integrated, more stable, more peaceful and prosperous Middle East region,” a senior U.S. administration official told reporters on Saturday.
Biden has pressed Arab countries to strengthen its stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. None of the countries represented at the summit have followed the U.S. in sanctioning Russia.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News
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