Iran is increasingly involved in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In recent days, he has sent dozens of Islamic Revolutionary Guards officers to advise the Russian military on the use of kamikaze drones that Tehran sold to Moscow. Iranian instructors operate from a Russian military base in Crimeawhere most of the drones since they were delivered by Iran and used this week by the Russians to terrorize the Ukrainian civilian population and destroy power plants that left millions of people without supplies.
The United Nations human rights body considers that deliberate attacks on civilian targets “could constitute war crimes” and anyone who partakes of these will be judged. The European Union believes that the sale of war material from Iran to Russia violates sanctions imposed globally for the breach of Tehran’s nuclear plan and announced further trade restrictions with the two countries.
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“Sending drones and instructors to Ukraine has drawn Iran deeply into the war on the Russian side and implicated Tehran directly in operations that have killed and injured civiliansMick Mulroy, a former senior Pentagon official, said in an interview with the New York Times. “Even if it’s just coaches and tactical advisers in Ukraine, I think that’s substantial.”
Initially, Russia had sent its staff to Iran for drone training. But as the operational problems worsened, Iran chose to send its instructors to Crimea. It is not clear whether the Iranians maneuver the aircraft from bases on the occupied peninsula and directly carry out the attacks. According to information from various intelligence centers cited by the Institute for the Study of War, On Monday, the arrival in the Crimean peninsula of at least 18 Iranian officers was detected.
Iran delivered the first batch of drones in August. Among them, the Shaheds, who are single-use drones intended to explode and destroy targetsbut they have a range of more than 1,600 kilometers. The Shahed-136 is capable of carrying a warhead with more than 80 kilos of explosives. Iran also sold the larger Mohajer-6 drone, which is used for surveillance and can carry up to four missiles. And this week, Reuters reported that Iran could supply Russia with surface-to-surface missiles. Nasser Kanani, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, denied the accusation, saying that Iran “has always opposed the continuation of the war [de Ucrania].” But the satellite photos exposed in recent days clearly show the actions of Iranian drones in Ukraine.
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Ukrainians call them “scooters” because of the sound they make. when they approach the target. Iranian drone strikes in kyiv were particularly destructive against buildings inhabited by civilians and without any military use. On Monday, an Iranian-made kamikaze drone hit a residential building and exploded, killing a young couple; the woman was six months pregnant. Drones were also used to attack the power grid across the country. “Putin is losing the war and is willing to resort to any resource to reverse this situation. That is why ordered to cause terror and chaos by plunging the civilian population into darkness as the days grow colder. He wants to make life miserable for the Ukrainians beyond the fact that this is not going to reverse the balance on the battlefield”, explained Mick Mulroy.
“The Russians are wasting very high-end munitions, their cruise missiles and Iranian-supplied drones, in these sporadic strikes against civilian and infrastructure targets that really they are not doing much lasting damage and are not going to force Ukraine to surrender in any way”, is the conclusion of the latest report from the Institute for the Study of War (IWS).
Iran maintains Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officers in other conflict zones. For example, in Yemen, where they serve as trainers and advisers to the Houthis. Also in Syria and Lebanon. But until now, they were natural allies in their zone of influence. This deployment in Ukraine shows a concrete breakthrough for Tehran in a conflict in Europe. And this brought enormous concern in all European capitals and in the United States.
Despite their differences, Iran and Russia grew closer because “share the same perception of threat”, commented in a CNN debate, Behnam Ben Taleblu, a researcher at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank in Washington. “They see a regional order aligned against them by an extra-regional power like the United States.”
“If Iran sells missiles to Russia, this would mean that it is moving some of its most precise and accurate munitions closer to Europe,” he said. “It is critical to view Iran’s cooperation with Russia as part of its broader war with the West.”.
Major General Yahya Safavi, one of Iran’s supreme leader’s top military aides, threw a little more salt in the wound Thursday when he boasted that “22 countries are now in the market for Iranian drones.” Iran, which before the 1979 revolution imported most of its weapons, now manufactures more than 80% of its military equipment, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. The Iranians have been developing drones for twenty years.
“For the Iranians, it is about achieving market share, prestige and consolidating alliances,” said Eric Lob of the Wilson Center. “Apart from Moscow paying the bills, the Iranian military is doing a separate business in Ukraine by being able to test its drones in a war ‘against NATO’. For the conception of him, show they can stand up to the might of the West”
Since the Iranian drones began to operate, Ukraine has been asking the West to provide them with anti-missile systems to detect and neutralize them before they explode. In Washington they are evaluating the possibility of delivering some type of batteries such as the Patriot or the Iron Dome that Israel has. But his biggest concern now is the presence of the Iranian military on a military mission in the heart of Eastern Europe.
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