A senior Iranian official has said that western criticism regarding Iranian drones being sold to Russia for their use in Ukraine shows they’re “effective.”
While speaking to Iranian state-run news outlets, Iran’s chief of staff for their military, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, said western criticism of Iranian drone sales to Russia showed Iran’s “effectiveness and importance” of its drone program. Bagheri continued by saying Iran’s “drone systems are at a high ranking in the world in terms of accuracy, durability, and continuity of operation and mission execution.” He also claimed that news reports regarding the sales to Russia were “mostly false.”
This development comes after western nations warned earlier this year that Iran and Russia were deepening relations, with Russia also relying on Iranian drones in their fight against Ukraine. Initially, Iran denied it was supplying drones to Russia but, after photo evidence, admitted that they were sending “small amounts” of drones to Russia. Earlier this year, Iran transferred “Shahed-136” drones that have been provided to Houthi rebels in Yemen and other Iranian allies.
Russia has used Iranian-made drones to ramp up attacks against Ukrainian infrastructure, resulting in widespread power outages for major cities across the country. The Iranian drones have become a vital tool in Russia’s arsenal, with drone attacks occurring daily throughout Ukraine.
Why is Russia using Iranian drones?
Western nations say that Russia is relying on Iranian drones because sanctions against companies that manufacture specific weapons for Russia have impacted their operations, bringing some operations to a standstill. During the first few months of the war in Ukraine, the United States and other nations imposed sanctions on multiple companies that are involved in weapons manufacturing in Russia. These sanctions targeted weapons manufacturers and companies that provide components to their weapons (including microchips).