Iran may have transferred hundreds of ballistic missiles to Russia
Iranian ballistic missiles are displayed at an event in Tehran in August 2023. Photo: Reuters

Iran appears to have transferred hundreds of ballistic missiles with a range of 700 km to Russia in recent weeks, according to anonymous sources.

Reuters on February 21, citing three sources from Iran, said Tehran had provided about 400 missiles, including many bullets of the Fateh-110 family with the ability to attack targets at a distance of 300-700 km.

A source said the shipments began to be delivered in early January, after a meeting between military and security officials of the two countries took place late last year. According to an anonymous Iranian military official, at least four shipments have been delivered and more shipments will follow in the coming weeks.

An Iranian military official said some missiles were delivered to Russia by ship across the Caspian Sea; others were transported by plane. “There is no reason to hide. We are allowed to export weapons to any country we want,” the second official emphasized.

A Western diplomat also confirmed that Iran has transferred ballistic missiles to Russia in recent weeks.

A Ukrainian military source said the country has not recorded Russian forces using Iranian ballistic missiles in the conflict.

Russian and Iranian officials have not commented on the information.

The United Nations Security Council once banned Iran from exporting some missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and military technology, but these restrictions expired in October 2023. However, the United States and the European Union still maintain sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said last month that the US is concerned that Russia is about to obtain short-range ballistic weapons from Iran. A US official said Washington had discovered evidence of negotiations, but there was no sign that the missiles had been transferred.

Jeffrey Lewis, an expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in the US, said the Fateh-110 missile family is a high-precision weapon, and 400 missiles could cause significant damage if used in Ukraine.

Ukraine has repeatedly asked Iran to stop supplying the Shahed-136 suicide UAV to Russia. The Ukrainian Air Force said in December 2023 that Russia had launched 3,700 Shaheds during the war and that air defense forces shot down dozens of aircraft every week.

Iran initially denied providing drones to Russia but later said it had transferred a small number before Moscow launched the war in Ukraine in February 2022. “Accusing Iran of providing weapons to one of the sides in the Ukraine war is a politically motivated act,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani stated earlier this week.