Russia’s unofficial ally: why Iran sends Weapons to Moscow

Lorenzo Bagnato

10 December 2022 - 17:43

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Some of the drones that stroke Ukraine in recent weeks were made by Iran. But why would Iran support Russia?

Russia's unofficial ally: why Iran sends Weapons to Moscow

It’s not a secret for anyone that the United States and many other NATO countries have funded Ukraine’s defenses against Russia. It turns out, however, that one country supports Russia’s war too, sending military weapons and supplies.

It’s the Middle Eastern nation of Iran, a historical enemy of the United States and one of the most powerful countries in the region. Iran too has long been sanctioned by the West, for long and complex reasons, and therefore has a strong hatred for anything NATO related.

Therefore, Teheran and Moscow are united by the “enemy of my enemy” principle, and have a relationship that some define as a “defensive alliance”.

After the recent bombing campaigns over Ukraine that killed hundreds of civilians, Kyiv recognized some of the drones used as Iranian made. Iran initially denied such accusations, only confirming later that they had, indeed, sent some weapons to Russia before the war.

John Kirby, spokesman of the US National Security Council, has however painted a different picture. According to him, Iran has become “Russia’s main military backer” and their relationship has only strengthened after the war. "Russia is seeking to collaborate with Iran in areas like weapons development, training,” Kirby said. “Russia’s been using Iranian drones to strike energy infrastructure, depriving millions of Ukrainians of power, heat, critical services. People in Ukraine today are actually dying as a result of Iran’s actions.

Iran has many reasons to support Russia in their war, and they have to do with their internal struggle as well as their geopolitical position. It goes to show how globalized the war in Ukraine has become, and how it just seems to get even larger.

Why Iran supports Russia

To understand why Iran would back Russia in a war thousands of kilometers away, we must first understand their home situation. Iran is run by nothing short of a theocracy, where Shia Muslims are the majority and rule the country with an iron fist.

The Ayatollah, the religious and political head of the country, is a pretty much absolute leader and dictates any of the country’s policies. The strong religious extremism that characterizes the country has been subject of several accusations by the international community. But it seems to be cracked internally as well.

For years now, Iran has seen endless protests against the regime and their extremist views. The death of an activist, Mahsa Amini, in September sparked the biggest wave of protests yet seen in the country.

Another reason for the increasingly loud protests is the economically terrible situation inside the country. This is strongly connected with the sanctions imposed by the West on Iran. Officially, these sanctions have to do with Iran’s attempts to create their personal nuclear arsenal. In reality, they have a much broader geopolitical reasoning that goes beyond the scope of this article.

In any case, Iran is under pressure economically by the West. Their only way to justify the regime’s iron fist and try to answer the protests is to blame the sanctions. And in order to do this, they have to support any other “enemy of the West”.

Hence why Iranian drones are now in Ukraine, and why Teheran and Moscow have such close ties. The US will keep looking at the situation closely, and the war will get ever so large.


# Russia
# Iran

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