Iran’s regime smuggled drones into Russia to support Putin’s troops in their invasion of Ukraine

Among the drones that Iran sent to Russia are the Shahed 129

Cooperation between Iran and Russia in the context of the war in Ukraine is getting closer. The Persian regime smuggled into Moscow at least 18 long-range drones to be used by Vladimir Putin’s troops in his invasion of the Ukraine.

Internal sources in Iran indicated that the weapons were handed over to the Russian Army after Russian officers and technicians made a special visit to Tehran last November, according to the newspaper. The Guardian.

On that visit, the Russian delegation selected six drones Mohajer-6which have a range of about 200 kilometers and carry two missiles under each wing, along with 12 drones Shahed 191 and 129which also have air-to-ground attack capabilities.

As detailed by those sources, most of the drones sent to Russia were secretly picked up by an Iranian ship from a base on the Caspian Sea coast and then transferred on the high seas to a Russian Navy ship. Others, instead, were sent via an Iranian state airline.

In recent months Putin’s troops have used Iranian drones Shahed 131 and 136 to carry out kamikaze raids against Ukrainian civilian targets. Unlike these, the highest-flying ones are designed to drop bombs and return to base intact. They can be launched in rapid succession from platforms and their distinctive A-shaped design makes them easy to identify.

Ukrainian forces claim to have shot down hundreds of Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones (REUTERS / Vadim Sarakhan)
Ukrainian forces claim to have shot down hundreds of Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones (REUTERS/Vadim Sarakhan) (STRINGER/)

The Ukrainian Army claims it has shot down hundreds of these Iranian-made “kamikaze” drones. Russia is believed to have ordered about 2,400 drones of this model.

Since last September Ukrainian forces have also shot down Mohajer-6 drones. These drones can fly for six hours and are powered by electricity. In addition, they have the capacity to transport 40-kilogram bombs and have high-precision imaging and aiming systems.

The Shahed 129, meanwhile, carries a load of about 60 kilograms and can stay in flight for about four hours, while the Shahed 191 can fly five hours, loaded with 70 kilograms.

It is estimated that the last delivery of Iranian drones was put into operation in Ukraine on November 20. More deliveries were expected, but the military factory in the central city of Isfahan, where part of the drones were being developed, was attacked on January 28. The bombardment left significant damage to the manufacturing of Iran’s most advanced weapon systems, including precision-guided missiles and drones.

The increased flow of weapons from Tehran is meant to help offset the huge losses in Russian military equipment since Moscow invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago.

An intelligence assessment shared in recent weeks with U.K. and U.S. officials says Iran’s arms industry is preparing a first shipment of Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar missiles, two well-known Iranian short-range ballistic missiles capable of hitting targets at ranges of 300 and 700 kilometers, respectively, said two officials briefed on the matter. If carried out, it would be the first delivery of such missiles to Russia since the start of the war.

Parts of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), what Ukrainian authorities consider to be an Iranian-made Shahed-136 suicide drone (REUTERS/Vitalii Hnidyi)
Parts of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which the Ukrainian authorities consider an Iranian-made Shahed-136 suicide drone (REUTERS / Vitalii Hnidyi) (STRINGER /)

Amid this growing military cooperation between Iran and Russia, the United States last week imposed new sanctions on the Persian regime’s drone industry for its support of the Russian invasion.

The company to which the sanctioned belong, Paravar Pars Company, was already subject to sanctions from both the United States and the European Union for manufacturing drones for the aerospace department of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, according to a statement from the Treasury Department.

During his tour of the Middle East, the head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, denounced that Iran is providing Russia with drones “with which innocent people die” in Ukraine. Ukrainian President, Volodimir Zelenskyfor his part, told an extraordinary plenary session of the European Parliament that “Putin is a dictator with weapons of regimes like Iran.”

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