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The White House said it believes Iran is planning to supply Russia with “several hundred” unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) amid its war Ukraine.
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday, “Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline.”
Sullivan said it is unclear whether Iran has already sent some of its drones to Russia and said Washington officials have intelligence leading them to believe that Tehran is preparing to train Russian forces on the UAVs this month.
The security advisor said the fact that Russia was turning to other nations to help reinforce its brutal campaign in Ukraine shows that its war is “coming at a cost to the sustainment of its own weapons.”
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Fox News could not immediately reach the State Department for comment on whether Iran’s backing of Russia’s military could prompt further international sanctions.
Despite attempts by Western nations to reach a new nuclear agreement with Iran, the U.S. broadened its network of sanctions earlier this month after Tehran attempted to skirt U.S.-sanctioned Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products by selling the banned items to East Asia.
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Sullivan’s announcement comes as President Biden is set to meet with world leaders in Saudi Arabia and Israel, where the Iran nuclear deal is likely to be a top issue.
Both Saudi Arabia and Israel have resisted joining international efforts to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin over his illegal and deadly invasion of Ukraine.
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Iran has reportedly used the UVAs it will now be supplying Russia to arm Houthi rebels in Yemen, which frequently attack Saudi Arabia.
Putin is also scheduled to travel to the Middle East this week and will meet with leaders from Iran and Turkey.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.