Great Prophet 17 military drills, a five-day exercise that took place in Iran on 20 December 2021 (Photo Credit: Iranian state media)
The Washington Post revealed in a report on 16 October that foreign intelligence have “tipped off” the US and Ukraine about Iran’s plans to sell Russia advanced ballistic missiles.
The intelligence report alleges that Tehran will supply Moscow with its potent rocket artillery system, the Fateh-class, one of Iran’s most abundant and battle-proven armaments.
It was previously used against the Iraq-based Kurdish organizations in 2018, the US forces in Ain al-Assad base in 2020, and the attack on Aramco oil facilities at Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia in March 2021.
Iran will reportedly supply Russia with its new Fateh-110 generation rocket and its newly uncovered upgrade, the Zolfaghar. The system has a range of 300-700 km and has been supplied earlier to Hezbollah, Syria, and the Yemen-based Ansarallah movement.
The Washington Post implies that Israeli intelligence was able to uncover a secret visit of Iranian military advisors to Moscow on 18 September, to finalize an agreement for two “surface-to-surface missiles intended for use in Ukraine.”
However, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the claims, ridiculing them as “bogus.” Similarly, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected their support of any side of the conflict.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has not and will not provide any weapon to be used in the war in Ukraine,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, on 15 October.
Nonetheless, Iran’s unique Shahed-136 UAV was spotted on countless occasions in Ukraine, refuting all of Tehran and Moscow’s rebuttals of the news about weapon sales.
The UAVs helped Russia destroy numerous Ukrainian tanks, civilian infrastructure, and military facilities, according to Ukrainian officials.
Since February, more than 40 IRGC-linked heavy cargo planes have landed in Russia carrying Iranian weapons. The most recent, a Boeing 747 (EP-SIH) arrived on 12 October.
In the wake of these developments, the Israeli deputy director general for Euro-Asia, Simona Halperin, visited Kyiv and met with Maksym Subkh, Ukraine’s special representative for West Asia.
Subkh pleaded with Israel to share crucial intel on Iranian capabilities to assist in offsetting the effect of its weapon deliveries to Russia. The recent leaks to Washington Post are the first public acknowledgment of information sharing.
The new cooperation between Russia and Iran is of great concern to Israel, as eventually, Moscow will have to repay Tehran for its assistance with advanced technology or cutting-edge weapons.