Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin (2nd left) and Iranian Army's Ground Force Commander Kioumars Heydari (2nd right) during a meeting in Moscow on August 23, 2023

Russia, Iran Discuss Military Cooperation Amid Western Sanctions

Wednesday, 08/23/2023

As Russia and Iran are both hit by economic sanctions from the West, the allied nations have entered discussions about the prospect of military cooperation.

Russia’s deputy defense minister and the Iranian ground forces commander were in talks this week during an Iranian military delegation's visit to Moscow, Interfax reports.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine 18 months ago, the two nations have drawn closer in diplomatic and military exchanges, which has caused concern in the West.

In August 2022, Iran’s supply of lethal drones to Russia sparked international interest and alarm. And the alleged transfer of drones from Iran to Russia for use against Ukraine triggered further concern. In July, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan issued a caution about Russia's apparent pursuit of acquiring Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from Iran.

The situation has escalated as Moscow and Tehran reportedly collaborated on plans to establish a new drone manufacturing facility in Russia. The facility is said to be capable of producing at least 6,000 drones based on Iranian designs but with heightened capabilities and are thought to be intended for use in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

According to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal, a high-level Iranian delegation visited Russia in January to assess the prospective site for the factory and to finalize key details necessary to commence the project. These reports claimed that the drone factory initiative is part of a substantial $1 billion agreement between the two allies.

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