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Ukraine Should Worry: Russia Is Going All in on Drones from Iran

Shahed-136. Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot.
Shahed-136. Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot.

Russia Reportedly Struck New Deal With Iran for Attack Drones: According to intelligence seen by the United States and Western security agencies, Tehran has struck a deal with Moscow to provide yet more Iranian-made attack drones. The news comes after shipments of Iranian drones arrived in Russia, which Tehran continues to deny providing to Russia for use in Ukraine, and following a series of heavy missile and drone strike bombardments across Ukraine.

A report by the Washington Post revealed how the deal was finalized by Russian and Iranian officials in a meeting in Iran earlier this month. The deal will see the two parties hurry to confirm the designs and capabilities of the weapons, with production beginning within a matter of months. The news not only means that Russia could soon have access to hundreds or thousands of new attack drones but also indicates that the conflict is unlikely to come to an end before the end of the year.

While Tehran initially denied that the drones were sent to assist with Russia’s war in Ukraine, an Iranian official did admit that a limited number of drones were sent to Russia before the invasion began.

“Some western countries have accused Iran of helping the war in Ukraine by providing drones…we did provide a limited number of drones to Russia in the months before the start of the war in Ukraine,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdolahain said in early November.

Iran’s Drones Assembled On Russian Soil

As part of the deal, Russia is also expected to establish its own assembly line. It will mean that Iran can design the drones and manufacture the parts, and then send those parts to Russia where they will be assembled. According to three officials familiar with the discussions, the domestic assembly line will allow Russia to quickly increase its stockpile of the weapons in a more cost-effective way.


Drone. Image Credit: Screenshot.

Hundreds of Iranian-made attack UAVs have already been deployed on the battlefield since late summer, though the stockpile of these weapons has dwindled significantly following Russia’s recent bombardment of Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure with attack drones.

Russia reportedly intends to use the new assembly line, and the deal with Tehran, to produce thousands of new attack drones. Not only could it potentially cut costs for Russia, but the agreement would also allow Iranian officials to continue to deny that battlefield-ready equipment was sent to Russia, given that the drones will technically be manufactured in Russia.

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.