US State Department Thursday voiced concern over expanding ties between Russia and Iran, calling it a “deepening alliance” after Tehran’s drone supplies to Moscow.
Department spokesperson Ned Price answering a question during his press briefing about the visit of Russia’s national security council secretary Nilolai Patrushev to Iran this week, said, “All of this is a concern in the context of the partnership – in some ways the burgeoning partnership – that we’ve seen develop in recent years and in different ways in recent months between Iran and Russia. This is a deepening alliance that the entire world should view as a profound threat.“
Patrushev held meetings with his Iranian counterpart Ali Shamkhani and President Ebrahim Raisi on November 9, discussing their "strategic partnership".
Price referring to Iranian drones used by Russia against Ukraine said that the US is working with the international community "to address the threats that are posed by Russia and Iran separately and the cooperation…between the two of them, including Iran’s dangerous proliferation of weapon systems to Russia."
Price also reiterated concern over Russia possibly helping Iran with knowledge of how to suppress protests but did not share any evidence of such cooperation.
A reporter asked Price during his briefing for more details about an initial statement two weeks ago that Russia may be helping Iran to suppress demonstrators.
Iranian Shahed-136 suicide drones used by Russia in Ukraine
“Unfortunately, there’s nothing more I can provide,’ Price responded adding that “In some instances we’re able to provide additional detail, including as we’ve done with the transfer of weapons. In this case it was the broader point that there are indications that this knowledge may be shared.”
Price went on to say that both Russia and Iran “have a good deal of experience when it comes to repression. They have both demonstrated their effectiveness when it comes to their ability to repress their people…our concern is that they will share this knowledge and that they will attempt to optimize those practices.”
Russia is a signatory of the 2015 nuclear accord known as the JCPOA and played an active role during 18 months of negotiations in Vienna initiated by the Biden Administration immediately after coming to office. But ultimately Iran presented demands unacceptable for Washington and the talks reached a dead-end in August, as Tehran was delivering military drones to Moscow.
In the meantime, Iran continues to expand its nuclear program with enriching more uranium, with having stockpiled 62 kilograms of fissile material enriched at 60 percent, enough for one nuclear weapon. The UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA confirming this development voiced concern on Thursday [Nov. 10].
Iran is also expanding its missile program, with testing its ballistic missiles with space launches and developing new weapons.
A top Iranian commander announced Thursday that Tehran has developed hypersonic ballistic missile.
"This missile has a high speed and can maneuver in and out of the atmosphere. It will target the enemy's advanced anti-missile systems and is a big generational leap in the field of missiles," commander Amir-Ali Hajizadeh was quoted as saying.
IAEA’s chief Rafael Grossi pointing to this announcement said during the United Nations COP27 climate meeting in Egypt that “We see that all these announcements increase the attention, increase the concerns, increase the public attention to the Iranian nuclear program.”