US says Russia may provide Iran with fighter jets as ties grow

Russia may be preparing to provide Iran with fighter jets as the countries continue to expand their military cooperation, the White House said on Friday.

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the US further assesses that Iran is seeking to acquire additional military hardware from the Kremlin, including attack helicopters, radars and Yak-130 training aircraft as it supplies Moscow with its domestically-manufactured arms, including drones.

"In total, Iran is seeking billions of dollars worth of military equipment from Russia," he told reporters during a virtual briefing. "We're going to be watching this very closely to see what, if anything, actually transpires and whatever transactions are actually made."

Iran has previously provided Russia with military drones that are being used in Ukraine, a fact Tehran initially denied before publicly acknowledging the deliveries. It did so in November, but claimed the unmanned aerial vehicles were delivered prior to the start of Russia's war, which began on Feb. 24, 2022.

It has maintained that the deliveries constituted only a "small number" of drones.

Ukraine and its Western allies have rebuffed the narrative, saying Kyiv's forces continue to down large quantities of Iranian-made Shahed suicide drones, as well as the Qods Mohajer-6 unmanned aircraft.

"This defense cooperation is not only, of course, not good for the people of Ukraine as Russia continues to get drones and potentially other capabilities," said Kirby.

"But certainly it's not good for the Middle East, as Iran will seem to benefit from their cooperation with Russia and to get Russian military capabilities to bolster their own military power there in the region," he added. "It's a concern on both ends there."

Source: AA

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