US seeks to make it harder for Iran to sell drones to Russia

WASHINGTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) – The United States will continue to take “practical, aggressive” steps to make it more difficult for Iran to sell drones and missiles to Russia, State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said on Tuesday, adding that Washington had a range of tools to hold both Moscow and Tehran accountable.

Patel, speaking at a daily press briefing, said such measures could include sanctions and export controls.

“We will continue to take practical, aggressive steps to make these arms sales more difficult, including sanctions, export control actions against all entities involved,” Patel said.

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“Russia’s deepening alliance with Iran is something the entire world — especially those in the region — should consider a deep threat.”

A drone is fired during a military exercise at an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout photo taken on August 25, 2022. Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

Ukraine has accused Russia of using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in attacks in recent weeks. Iran denies having supplied them, and on Tuesday the Kremlin also denied using them.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Iran has promised Russia it would supply them with surface-to-surface missiles, in addition to more drones. Read more

The US State Department assessed that Iranian drones were used in a morning rush-hour attack on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Monday, a US official said. White House spokeswoman Karinne Jean-Pierre also accused Tehran of lying when it said Iranian drones were not being used by Russia in Ukraine.

The United States in September imposed sanctions on an Iranian company it accused of coordinating military flights to transport Iranian drones to Russia, and three other companies it said were involved in the production of Iranian drones. Read more

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Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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