The United States should punish Iran for providing and facilitating Russian drone attacks on Ukrainian civilian targets, a military expert and former US Army major has said. Newsweek.
Ukraine first reported an attack by Iran-supplied Shahed-136 weapons on September 13 and they reportedly wreaked havoc on Kyiv, Dnipro and Sumy regions on Monday.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Iran had promised to give Russia more drones in addition to surface-to-surface missiles, citing Iranian officials and diplomats.
The EU and UK government have announced they will sanction Iranian individuals and companies for supplying the drones, which Western allies say violates UN Security Council Resolution 2231 banning Iranian transfers of certain technologies military.
But John Spencer, who is a retired US Army major and chair of urban warfare studies at the Madison Policy Forum, said the US should also exert its diplomatic, military and economic might to stop the supply of drones from Iran.
“The United States, like the United Kingdom, should impose more sanctions on Iran and Russia,” he said. Newsweek.
“The United States and the UN should publicly shame Iran for supporting Russian war crimes and genocide in Ukraine,” he said. “The United States and NATO should immediately provide Ukraine with the weapons and equipment needed to destroy Iranian drones and missiles.”
This, in his opinion, should include radars, air defense systems and longer guard lights such as ATACMs (Army Tactical Missile System) that can reach drone launch sites and training locations in Crimea. and in other occupied areas. He also called for the enactment of legislation designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Newsweek contacted the US State Department and the Iranian Foreign Ministry for comment.
The United States has said it agrees with its Western allies that Iran’s supply of drones to Russia violates UN sanctions, but has not yet imposed measures in Tehran.
Pentagon Air Force Press Secretary Brig. General Pat Ryder told a briefing on Thursday that Iranian personnel were on the ground in Crimea helping Russian forces use the drones and dismissed Tehran’s claims that he was not the supplier.
Iran also reportedly gave Russia Shahed 129s and Shahed 191s, as well as the Mohajer-6 drone, although Tehran has denied supplying drones. The Mohajer-6 and Shahed-129 are larger than the delta-shaped Shahed-136 and can be used for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering purposes, as well as carrying guided missiles.
“There are several tribes of drones that are also in Russian possession right now that have dual capabilities,” Austin Warnick, an analyst with venture intelligence firm Flashpoint, said recently. Newsweek.
Experts have said the drones offer little strategic military value for Russia as it suffers setbacks from a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive. Ryder said the drones were “psychological weapons used to create fear”, although that did not mean it would prevent Russian forces from losing territory.
Marina Miron, researcher at the Department of Defense Studies at King’s College London (KCL) said Newsweek that “drones are a force multiplier for Russia”, which have an impact “especially in the field of information and psychologically”.