Iran Has Begun Training Russia to Use Its Advanced Drones, U.S. Says

Iran has begun training Russian officials to use its advanced drones, according to the Biden administration, the latest sign that Moscow plans to use Tehran’s military weapons to try to seize a new aerial advantage in Ukraine.

Iranian officials launched the training in recent weeks as part of an agreement for Tehran to send hundreds of drones to Russia, according to a U.S. official, who cited recently declassified U.S. intelligence.

The Biden administration first released intelligence last month on the secret talks between Russia and Iran in an effort to deter the two countries from following through on plans to use the drones against Ukrainian forces. But the recent training suggests that Iran and Russia are still preparing to send the drones into battle. Russia and Iran have rejected the U.S. allegations.

The Kremlin and Russia’s defense ministry didn’t respond Wednesday to requests for comment. Iran’s foreign ministry denied that the country was involved in providing drones to Russia.

Last month, the U.S. released unclassified images the White House said showed Russian officials visiting an Iranian military drone base. The U.S. said Iran showed the Russian delegation two different kinds of drones that could be used in Ukraine: the Shahed-129, a Predator-style drone that can fly more than 1,000 miles with missiles, and the Shahed-191, a flying-wing drone capable of carrying missiles for about 300 miles.

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