Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia for the first time

Iran has recently been flexing its military muscle abroad by sending drones to Russia, running exercises in the border regions with Azerbaijan, and bombing Kurdish positions in Iraq in addition to providing them. As protests rage at home, Iran’s theocratic government is increasingly flexing its military muscle abroad.

That includes supplying drones to Russia that now kill Ukrainian civilians, running drills in a border region with Azerbaijan, and bombing Kurdish positions in Iraq. Iran has acknowledged for the first time that it sent drones to Russia, insisting the delivery came before Moscow’s assault on Ukraine that has seen the Iranian-produced drones divebombing Kyiv. 

Iran has sent a limited amount of drones to Russia before the conflict in Ukraine, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Saturday. Iran has previously denied arming Russia in its war on Ukraine, but Iran’s ambassador to the U.N., Amir Saeid Iravani, called the claims “totally unfounded” and repeated Iran’s position of neutrality in the war earlier this week. 

The U.S. and its Western allies on the Security Council have requested that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres investigate if Iran has employed drones to assault Ukrainian civilians. Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard has vaguely marketed armed drones to major powers, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has praised their efficiency and mocked Western hand-wringing.