WASHINGTON: Russia is considering sending fighter jets to Iran as part of an expanding military cooperation that has seen Tehran ship growing quantities of weaponry to Moscow for use in the invasion of Ukraine, the White House said Friday.
National security spokesperson John Kirby said the US had information that Iran had shipped artillery and tank rounds to Russia in November, and Russia was offering defense cooperation in return.
“We believe that Russia might provide Iran unprecedented defense cooperation, including on missiles, electronics and air defense. We believe that Russia might provide Iran with fighter jets,” Kirby told reporters.
Kirby said Iran, which is deeply isolated by Western sanctions aimed at halting its disputed nuclear program, was seeking to bolster its military with Russian help in exchange for sending armaments used in the year-long onslaught against Ukraine
As the war in Ukraine continues, the United States and allies and partners around the world stand strong with Ukraine — holding Russia accountable for its war of aggression.— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 24, 2023
Watch as National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby explains: pic.twitter.com/awzlhnECww
“Iran is also seeking to purchase additional military equipment from Russia, including attack helicopters, radars and combat training aircraft. In total, Iran are seeking billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment,” Kirby said.
“We were concerned it was going to go both ways, and those concerns are certainly being realized,” he said.
According to Kirby, Iran has already sent hundreds of drones, as well as artillery and tank ammunition, to Russia and that “Iran’s support for Russia’s war has expanded.”
Kirby’s statement comes as the US marked the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Friday with $2 billion in weaponry for Kyiv and new sanctions against Russia aimed at undermining Moscow’s ability to wage war.
(With AFP and Reuters)