Iranian threat is a ‘global challenge', US official warns

Tehran has been funnelling military support to Russia in Ukraine

Ukrainians view parts of a drone that attacked Kyiv in October. Ukrainian authorities said it was an Iranian-made Shahed-136. Reuters
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Iran’s growing involvement in Russia's war in Ukraine may have lasting implications for stability in the Middle East, a top US official said on Tuesday.

The warning from Dana Stroul, deputy assistant secretary of defence for the Middle East, comes as military ties deepen between Moscow and Tehran, which the US says has supplied Russia with drones, artillery and tank rounds.

“We are now at a point where Iranian threats are no longer specific to the Middle East, but a global challenge,” Ms Stroul said.

“That is a result of the increasing military co-operation between Iran and Russia and the illicit transfer by Iran to Russia of one-way attack drones that are being used in Ukraine to kill Ukrainian civilians.”

Western nations say Iran has supplied Russia with Shahed-136 drones that have helped Russia wreak havoc on Ukraine's power grid.

Iran has denied supplying drones to Russia.

The White House said Russia is considering supplying Iran with fighter jets and other military equipment. Ms Stroul expressed alarm over the flourishing military partnership.

“It is reasonable to expect that the tactics, techniques and procedures that the Iranians are learning and perfecting in Ukraine will one day come back to threaten our partners in the Middle East,” she told reporters during a virtual briefing.

On Monday, Russia launched another barrage of drones towards the capital Kyiv and the city of Khmelnytskyi in western Ukraine.

For years, Iran has been developing advanced drone technology often employed by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, but their growing influence outside the Middle East has US officials concerned.

Iran displays drones at secret underground base — in pictures

Updated: February 28, 2023, 5:33 PM