Putin aide in Iran for security consultations over 'western interference'

Iran is under scrutiny by the West for sending drones to Moscow that are being used to destroy Ukrainian infrastructure

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Nikolai Patrushev, a powerful Russian aide to President Vladimir Putin, visited Iran on Wednesday for security talks, Russian state news agency Tass reported.

"In Tehran, Patrushev will hold scheduled Russian-Iranian security consultations with the participation of security council experts and representatives from both countries' ministries and agencies," Tass said, citing the Russian security council's press service.

The visit by Mr Patrushev, who is secretary of the Russian security council, to the region comes as scrutiny surrounds Iran for sending drones to Russia that are being used in its invasion of Ukraine.

With Russia's "special military operation" in Ukraine in its ninth month, Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi and Mr Patrushev discussed "various issues of Russian-Iranian co-operation in the field of security, as well as a number of international problems", Interfax news agency reported.

Russian state media said Mr Patrushev discussed the situation in Ukraine and measures to combat "Western interference" in both countries' internal affairs with his Iranian security counterpart Ali Shamkhani.

NourNews, affiliated with Iran's top security body, said Mr Shamkhani called for deeper ties across a range of sectors from energy to banking.

"Iran welcomes and supports any initiative that leads to a ceasefire and peace between Russia and Ukraine based on dialogue and is ready to play a role in ending the war," Mr Shamkhani said.

Russia is unleashing  successive waves of the Iranian-made Shahed drones over Ukraine.

Iran has said it gave Moscow drones and weapons before the invasion of Ukraine began in February. The admission came after it had initially denied giving Russia any weapons.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said it supplied only "a small number of drones" to Russia.

Western states, which oppose Mr Putin's actions in Ukraine, have sanctioned Iran over the supply of weapons, which they claim were used to target Ukraine's power infrastructure in recent weeks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Iran's actions are “a collaboration with evil”.

The UK's Telegraph newspaper reported on Wednesday that Russia has handed captured British anti-tank missiles to Iran in exchange for unmanned drones. It also said Moscow paid Tehran more than $120 million in cash.

The Sahed 136 is a long-range unmanned aerial vehicle that can strike targets more than 2,000 kilometres away but carries a relatively small warhead of 40 kilograms.

It is propeller driven — giving it a low speed of about 185kph — and its guidance is by GPS, making it accurate. But both those features also make it vulnerable to ground fire and electronic jamming.

Shahed — “martyr” in Persian — is not stealthy and the Ukrainians have nicknamed them “flying mopeds” but at $20,000 each they are cheap to make and when used in swarms they can overwhelm defences. So far, of the estimated 115 attacks against Ukraine, an estimated 75 per cent have been shot down.

Updated: November 09, 2022, 2:24 PM
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