US warns of sanctions on Iran for supplying drones to Russia

The United States will crack down on transfers of Iranian drones to Russia and third parties assisting Iran with drones and missiles, the State Department announced Monday.

The United States also agrees with British and French assessments that Iran supplying drones to Russia would violate a UN Security Council resolution that endorsed Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal. and the six powers, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said.

“Earlier today, our French and British allies publicly assessed that Iran’s supply of these drones (for) Russia is a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231,” Patel said. to journalists, referring to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. “It’s something we agree with.”

Ukraine has reported a series of Russian attacks using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in recent weeks. Iran denies supplying the drones to Russia, while the Kremlin has not commented.

The State Department estimated that Iranian drones were used in a morning rush hour attack on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, on Monday, an official said. White House spokeswoman Karinne Jean-Pierre also accused Tehran of lying by claiming that Iranian drones are not used by Russia in Ukraine.

Resolution 2231 approved the agreement between Iran and Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States that limited Tehran’s uranium enrichment activity, making more difficult for Iran to develop nuclear weapons while lifting international sanctions.

Under the resolution, a conventional arms embargo against Iran was in place until October 2020. Despite US efforts under former President Donald Trump, who withdrew the US from the deal in 2018 , to extend the arms embargo, the Security Council rejected it, paving the way for the resumption of arms exports by Iran.

However, Western diplomats said the resolution still includes restrictions on missiles and related technologies that last until October 2023 and encompass the export and purchase of advanced military systems such as drones.

The Europeans still do not know if they would impose sanctions on Iran for the transfers of drones. Arriving in Luxembourg on Monday for a meeting of EU foreign ministers, Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said Europe would seek “concrete evidence” following reports that Russia has used Shahed-136 drones in recent weeks.

But the United States is certain Russia uses Iranian drones. “We believe that these drones that are transferred from Iran to Russia and used by Russia in Ukraine are among the weapons that would remain embargoed under 2231,” Patel said.

The Washington Post on Sunday also quoted “an intelligence assessment shared in recent days with Ukrainian and US officials [that] claims that the Iranian arms industry is preparing a first delivery of [surface-to-surface] Fateh-110 and Zolfagher missiles…”

The Biden administration and its European allies France, Germany and the United Kingdom, which negotiated unsuccessfully for nearly 18 months with Iran to revive an Obama-era nuclear deal, the JCPOA, seem realizing that ignoring Tehran’s actions will not help it soften its stance in reaching an agreement.

The recent popular protests have also cast a further shadow on the attitude of Western countries towards the mullahs’ regime in Iran. Government security forces have killed nearly 250 people, including many children, since mid-September after the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman, at the hands of “hijab police”.

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