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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 April 2024

Iran provides Russia with large number of powerful missiles, deepening military cooperation

Iran’s provision of around 400 missiles includes many from Fateh-110 family of short-range ballistic weapons, such as Zolfaghar, three Iranian sources said

Reuters Dubai Published 22.02.24, 10:39 AM
Iran's defence minister Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani walks past an Iranian missile in Tehran

Iran's defence minister Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani walks past an Iranian missile in Tehran Iran's Defence Ministry/Wana via Reuters

Iran has provided Russia with a large number of powerful surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, six sources told Reuters, deepening the military cooperation between the two US-sanctioned countries.

Iran’s provision of around 400 missiles includes many from the Fateh-110 family of short-range ballistic weapons, such as the Zolfaghar, three Iranian sources said. This road-mobile missile is capable of striking targets at a distance of between 300 and 700 km , experts say.

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Iran’s defence ministry and the Revolutionary Guards — an elite force that oversees Iran’s ballistic missile programme — declined to comment. Russia’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The shipments began in early January after a deal was finalised in meetings late last year between Iranian and Russian military and security officials that took place in Tehran and Moscow, one of the Iranian sources said.

An Iranian military official — who, like the other sources, asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information — said there had been at least four shipments of missiles and there would be more in the coming weeks. .

Another senior Iranian official said some of the missiles were sent to Russia by ship via the Caspian Sea, while others were transported by plane.

“There will be more shipments,” the second Iranian official said. “There is no reason to hide it. We are allowed to export weapons to any country that we wish to.”

UN Security Council restrictions on Iran’s export of some missiles, drones and other technologies expired in October. However, the US and EU retained sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile programme amid concerns over exports of weapons to its proxies in West Asia and to Russia.

A fourth source, familiar with the matter, confirmed that Russia had received a large number of missiles from Iran recently, without providing further details.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said in early January the US was concerned that Russia was close to acquiring short-range ballistic weapons from Iran, in addition to missiles already sourced from North Korea. A US official told Reuters that Washington had seen evidence of talks actively advancing but no indication yet of deliveries having taken place.

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