What drives Iran to help Russia: seeking money or power?

Iranian weapons Russia allegedly used against Ukraine are under new scrutiny after Kyiv revealed details of Western components for the marches it captured on the battlefield.

Ukraine’s defense ministry said the Iranian-made Mohajer-6 unmanned aerial vehicle used by Russian forces in the skies over eastern Europe bears dates indicating it was built in February, the month Moscow launched its attack, which may contradict Tehran’s claims. that I was selling weapons before the war started.

Kyiv says the drones used parts made in the United States, Austria and Japan, while Canada has acknowledged that the engines it sold to Iran may have been used for the drones.

The Ministry of Defense said: “Ukrainian experts are studying how foreign components ended up in Iranian drones. Serial numbers and information about the components have already been handed over to partner countries.”

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Russia’s nine-month war with Ukraine has brought Moscow and Tehran closer than ever.

Western officials have claimed that Iran is preparing to supply Russia with ballistic missiles that it can use to replenish its dwindling arsenal and launch attacks on Ukrainian targets. A Sky News report cited an unnamed source as claiming that Moscow paid Iran 140 million euros ($145 million) in cash and delivered captured British and American weapons in exchange for combat parades. An Iranian newspaper site close to the leadership rejected the accusations.

On Wednesday, Russian National Security Adviser Nikolai Patrushev met with his Iranian counterpart Ali Shamkhani in Tehran to discuss joint economic projects, avoiding Western sanctions and the war in Ukraine, according to press statements and media reports.

“Iran supports any dialogue-based initiative that leads to a ceasefire and peace between Russia and Ukraine,” Shamkhani said.

Iran denied for several months that it was supplying Russia with marches before admitting a few days ago that it had sold them, but confirming that the weapons were delivered before February 24, the date the war began.

Russia used Iranian drones to destroy Ukraine’s industrial infrastructure and terrorize civilians.

Although these weapons do not appear to be decisive on the battlefield, the parades drain Kyiv’s resources, hitting soft targets that are almost impossible to defend with the country’s limited number of air defense assets. Last month, the United Kingdom and the European Union imposed sanctions on Iran after its suicide bombings hit civilian targets in Ukraine, including residential buildings.

“They use it against electrical installations and it results in a blackout in the whole of Ukraine,” said Anna Raiskaya, a Ukrainian journalist specializing in Iran. “It affects all major cities, including Kyiv, where there are more than 10 hours of outages per day.”

Tehran’s involvement in the war in Ukraine has put it under the spotlight of Kiev and a coalition of Western countries that support the country’s defense efforts at a time when Iran is facing unprecedented internal turmoil. The seven-week national protest movement sparked by the killing of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who was abducted by police responsible for patrolling the streets, has left at least 328 dead at the hands of security forces, severely damaged Iran’s economy and further strained relations with the West.

Arms transfers to Russia have also drawn rare domestic criticism. A prominent newspaper, a cleric and a former envoy to Moscow questioned the arms sales and accused the government of working against Tehran’s interests.

“You should not put all your eggs in the basket of Russia,” wrote Masih Mohajeri, editor-in-chief of Jomhouri Islami.

US and British officials have argued that Moscow’s purchase of Iranian drones could be in violation of UN Security Council resolutions that place restrictions on Iran’s arms industry.

And while Iranian diplomats have been reticent to talk about arms sales to Russia, IRGC-affiliated media have bragged about it, suggesting the business deals are filling the regime’s coffers. Other Iranian voices close to the regime say Tehran has no other choice.

Diako Hosseini, an Iranian researcher who sometimes advises the government, wrote in a tweet: “The reason for the close relations between Iran and Russia is not Tehran’s excessive desire for Moscow. The real reason is the constant political and economic pressure from the United States, which left Iran with no choice but to approach Iran .” Russia and China.

For her part, Ms. Raiskaia believes that force, not material gain, prompted Iran’s leadership, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to greenlight arms sales to Russia with full knowledge of their potential use in Ukraine. Although Iran has no interest in acting against Kiev, Tehran may have concluded that it cannot allow Russia, among its few partners, to lose the war or that Mr. Putin’s authority is in complete collapse.

She said: “Khamenei and his senior officials who made this decision do not care if it is so [المسيرات ستستخدم] In Ukraine or anywhere else. They are fighting the West on another level. I don’t think it’s about money, but about showing strength. Or it could simply be that Iran could not refuse the Russian request.

And it has caused political turmoil in Iran and differences between Washington and Tehran to stall negotiations aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Russia is a party to the now-expiring 2015 nuclear deal that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for tough curbs on its nuclear program.

Perhaps Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calculations have now changed and he sees that it is in Moscow’s interest to allow Iran to develop its nuclear program.

“Putin is trying to destabilize the Western world. And the best way to do that, or the easiest way to do that, is to help the Iranians build a bomb,” said Yuriy Fleshtinsky, author of Blowing up Ukraine: The Return of Russian Terror. Or give them a bomb.”

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