During a White House briefing on Friday, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said sanctions would be introduced against entities “at the forefront in terms of acquiring and using Iranian drones.” He named the Russian Aerospace Forces and the 924th State Center for Unmanned Aviation of the Russian Defense Ministry as two of the organizations, but did not name the third.
Washington claims Moscow has been illegally acquiring Iranian weapons and drones – in violation of sanctions imposed on Tehran – and presenting them as having been produced in Russia. Kirby further alleged that Russia and Iran were in the process of establishing a joint production facility for unmanned aerial vehicles.
Kiev has also insisted that the drones that are striking targets across Ukraine are Iranian and contain mostly US-made components and elements from a number of other countries, including Ukraine itself.
Both Moscow and Tehran have denied the allegations. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in October that his country had “not sent, nor will it send, any weapons to Russia to use in the Ukrainian war,” explaining that Irainian officials believe the conflict should be resolved peacefully.
He admitted, however, that Iran did at one point supply drones to Russia, but clarified that this was done in “small quantities” and “several months” before the conflict in Ukraine began.
Amir-Abdollahian has also blasted the West for pumping Kiev with weapons, which he claimed only served to prolong the conflict.
Moscow, meanwhile, has repeatedly claimed that all the weapons used by Russian troops in Ukraine come from domestic stockpiles and has also condemned the US and its allies, accusing them of fueling the conflict by supplying excessive amounts of military aid to Kiev.