Russia to provide Iran with 'military components' says Wallace
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As both Russia and Iran faced increased Western sanctions, the former for its invasion of Ukraine and the latter for its subsequent support of Vladimir Putin, as well as its brutal treatment of anti-regime protesters domestically, Ben Wallace has warned that their military partnership “must be exposed”. The defence minister said Russia intends to supply Iran with “advanced military components”, a move which could “undermine security” both internationally and in the Middle East, as a token of gratitude for their supplying more than 300 deadly “kamikaze drones” to Putin. In a statement to the Commons on Tuesday, he urged the UK Government and the West to hold Iran “to account” for their support of Russia in their invasion of Ukraine and to put a stop to the already-devastating reality of their relationship.
In a statement on the war in Ukraine, Ben Wallace said: “We must stop [Russia’s] reckless shelling of nuclear facilities. We must hold their enablers to account.
“Iran has become one of Russia’s top military backers. In return for having supplied more than 300 kamikaze drones, Russia now intends to provide Iran with advanced military components, undermining both Middle East and international security. We must expose that deal.”
On Monday, during a United Nations Security Council in New York, Britain’s UN ambassador Barbara Woodward said Iran’s support of Russia “should be a matter of profound concern for us all”.
She accused both administrations of trying to dismiss her allegations as nothing but a “Western campaign to undermine the Iranian government”.
She said: “Iran and Russia would try to have us believe that the concerns I have expressed today are part of a Western campaign to undermine the Iranian government.
“This is simply false. Iran’s actions should be a matter of profound concern for us all.”
Both Russian and Iran have consistently denied their military relationship, with the former’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia telling the Security Council meeting that the country “doesn’t need anyone’s assistance”.
Nasser Kanani, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, on Sunday suggested there was a relationship between the two nations but that it was “not against any third country”.
Responding to comments made by CIA chief William Burns last Friday that the military relationship “poses a real threat” to US allies in the Middle East, Kanani said such comments were “baseless” and part of a “propaganda war against Iran”.
He said: “Cooperation between Iran and Russia in various fields including defence is expanding within the framework of common interests… and is not against any third country.
“American officials continue their baseless political claims and illegal actions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, questioning the conventional defence and military cooperation between Iran and Russia.”
Earlier this month, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby claimed Russia was preparing to provide air defence systems, helicopters and fighter jets to Iran as part of a deepening cooperation between the two nations.
In exchange for the hundreds of Iranian kamikaze drones, which have had a devastating impact on Ukrainian infrastructure and civilian areas hundreds of miles behind the front lines, Russia are allegedly ready to enter into a “full-fledged defence partnership”.
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On December 9, Mr Kirby said Russia and Iran were considering standing up a drone assembly line in Russia for the Ukraine conflict.
Meanwhile, Russia was training Iranian pilots on the Sukhoi Su-35 fighter. He added that Iran could receive deliveries of the plane within the year.
“These fighter planes will significantly strengthen Iran’s air force relative to its regional neighbours,” Mr Kirby said.
In a meeting between Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Vladimir Putin in June this year, the pair announced that the succeeding months would see the two nations build the framework of a “strategic relationship”.
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