US warns Iran against providing ballistic missiles to Russia
US warns Iran against providing ballistic missiles to Russia
US warns Iran against providing ballistic missiles to Russia
by DZRH News23 February 2024
FILE PHOTO: Iranian ballistic missiles are displayed during the ceremony of joining the Armed Forces, in Tehran, Iran, August 22, 2023. Iran's Presidency/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS./File Photo

By Humeyra Pamuk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Biden administration on Thursday warned Iran of a "swift and severe" response from the international community if Tehran provided ballistic missiles to Russia, after Reuters reported earlier this week that the Islamic Republic shipped the powerful weapons to Moscow.

Speaking at a virtual briefing with reporters, White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby said Washington has yet to see confirmation that missiles have moved from Iran to Russia.

Reuters exclusively reported on Wednesday that Iran has provided Russia with a large number of powerful surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, citing six sources, a move that illustrated the deepening military cooperation between the two U.S.-sanctioned countries.


"In this press reporting, the Iranians are clearly indicating that they will ship ballistic missiles to Russia, and we have no reason to believe they will not follow through," Kirby said.

"For our part, we will take this matter to the U.N. Security Council," he added. "We will implement additional sanctions against Iran. And we will coordinate further response options with our allies and partners in Europe and elsewhere."

Iran's provision of around 400 missiles includes many from the Fateh-110 family of short-range ballistic weapons, such as the Zolfaghar, three Iranian sources told Reuters. This road-mobile missile is capable of striking targets at a distance of between 300 km and 700 km (186 miles and 435 miles), experts say.

The shipments began in early January after a deal was finalised in meetings in Tehran and Moscow late last year between Iranian and Russian military and security officials, one of the Iranian sources said.


Iranian-made Shahed drones supplied to Moscow have played a major role in Russia's attacks on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure but supply of ballistic missiles would be a sign of even deeper cooperation.

Iran has been supplying Russia with a significant number of drones, guided aerial bombs and artillery ammunition, which Russia has been using, to some effect, to attack Ukraine, Kirby said.

"In response to Iran’s ongoing support for Russia’s brutal war, we will be imposing additional sanctions on Iran in the coming days, and we are prepared to go further if Iran sells ballistic missiles to Russia," Kirby said.

U.N. Security Council restrictions on Iran's export of some missiles, drones and other technologies expired in October. However, the United States and European Union retained sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile program amid concerns over exports of weapons to its proxies in the Middle East and to Russia.


(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Caitlin Webber in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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