The Kremlin said Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Iran next week, a day after the United States warned that Tehran might provide Moscow with drones for its work in Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that during a trip to Tehran next Tuesday, Putin will attend a trilateral meeting with the leaders of Iran and Turkey, the so-called Astana format for meetings on talks related to Syria.
Putin’s visit to Iran follows US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia this week, where Iran’s nuclear program and malign activities in the region will be a major topic of discussion.
Peskov told reporters that during his visit to Tehran, Putin will hold a separate meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In March, Erdogan helped broker talks between Russian and Ukrainian representatives in Istanbul, Turkey. Peskov said there was no discussion of a new round of these negotiations.
On Monday, the White House said it believed Russia was heading to Iran to supply “hundreds” of drones, including those capable of carrying weapons, for use in Ukraine.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said it was unclear whether Iran had actually provided any of the vehicles to Russia, but he said the US had “information” that Iran was preparing to train Russian forces to use them as soon as this month.
“Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to supply Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including those with weapons-capable capability in a rapid timeframe,” Sullivan told reporters on Monday, referring to the UAVs by the acronym. for unmanned aerial vehicles.
A spokesman for Iranian Foreign Minister Nasser al-Kinani did not deny the US allegations in Tuesday’s statements.
He said that “Iran’s cooperation with Russia in some advanced technologies dates back to before the Russian-Ukrainian war.” “There hasn’t been any particular development in this regard recently.”
Iran has long been developing drones, including the so-called loitering munitions, and “kamikaze” drones such as the Switchblade that the United States supplied to Ukraine.
The US decision to publicly disclose that the two countries’ main regional rival was helping to rearm Russia comes as both Israel and Saudi Arabia have resisted joining global efforts to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine because of their domestic interests.
In Tehran, Mohammad Reza Pouribrahimi, head of the Iranian parliament’s economic committee, told the state-run IRNA news agency that Putin’s trip will seek to improve economic relations between the two countries affected by sanctions.
Zeke Miller and Josh Bock contributed to this report in Washington and the Emir of Units in Tehran, Iran.
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