A destroyed Russian drone near the town of Borispil, Kiev region, Ukraine, May 10, 2023.
A senior National Security Council official, John Kirby, said on Friday that the U.S. believes the attack drone manufacturing plant Russia is building with support from Iran could be fully operational by early next year. Stated.
U.S. officials believe Iran is shipping factory equipment and completed drones to Russia via the Caspian Sea. Since last summer, Russia has purchased hundreds of drones from Iran and used them extensively in the Ukraine war.
Kirby confirmed earlier CNN reports that Iran was using the Caspian route to transport drones, ammunition and mortar ammunition to Russia. In doing so, they often use “dark” vessels, or vessels with tracking data turned off to hide their movements.
The United States on Friday released a map showing the route Iran is believed to be using to transport equipment from Amirabad, Iran, to Makhachkala, Russia.
The route used by Iran to send drones and other equipment to Russia, according to the US government.
Kirby said in a statement: “Russia has used Iranian UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to attack Kiev in recent weeks, terrorizing the Ukrainian public and appearing to deepen military cooperation between Russia and Iran. It is.”
The US also believes Iran is shipping materials Russia is using to build its own drone factory in the Alabuga Special Economic Zone in Russia, about 900 miles east of Moscow. The United States has released satellite imagery of the alleged drone manufacturing plant, taken on April 3.
A satellite image of a facility where Russia plans to build a drone manufacturing factory with support from Iran, according to the U.S. government.
CNN has reached out to the Russian Embassy in Washington and the Iranian Permanent Mission to the United Nations for comment.
“Aid flows both ways: from Iran to Russia and from Russia to Iran,” Kirby said.
“Russia has provided Iran with unprecedented defense cooperation, including in the areas of missiles, electronics and air defense,” he added. “Earlier this year, Iran announced it had signed a deal to purchase Su-35 fighter jets from Russia. Iran aims to buy additional military equipment from Russia, including attack helicopters, radars and YAK-130 combat training aircraft. In total, Iran wants billions of dollars worth of military equipment from Russia.”
Kirby said the US is releasing this information to the public to “expose and confuse” the “total defense partnership” between the two countries.
He also spoke about how Iran illegally obtains parts for drone manufacturing and how companies “can take steps to ensure they are not inadvertently contributing to Iran.” The U.S. said it would issue new recommendations on Friday to help governments better understand how. Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle program. ”
The United States has imposed strict export control restrictions and sanctions to prevent Iran from obtaining materials needed for its drones, but Iran has found a wealth of commercial technology, including parts manufactured by US companies. CNN reports that evidence has surfaced suggesting that.
The Biden administration last year set up a large task force to investigate how US and Western components, including US-made microelectronics, were incorporated into Iranian-made drones being used in Russia. rice field.
Kirby said the US will continue to impose sanctions on Iran, Russia and other countries involved in equipment procurement.