G7 cautions Iran against supplying ballistic missiles to Russia

Iran Materials 14 June 2024 23:40 (UTC +04:00)
Ingilab Mammadov
Ingilab Mammadov
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 14. Leaders of the Group of Seven issued a warning to Iran against supplying Russia with ballistic missiles, following the announcement that a much-publicized strategic agreement between the two countries had been halted due to “issues” on Iran's side, Trend reports.

Iran and Russia have strengthened their alliance amid the Ukraine conflict, which has led to extensive sanctions on Russia by the US and the EU. Iran has already provided Russia with hundreds of kamikaze drones, and there are unofficial reports suggesting Tehran might be considering supplying missiles as well.

"We urge Iran to cease its support for Russia's war in Ukraine and to refrain from transferring ballistic missiles and related technologies, as this would constitute a significant escalation and a direct threat to European security," said the G7.

In February, Reuters reported that Iran had supplied Russia with “a large number of powerful surface-to-surface ballistic missiles.” This claim was later echoed by UK defense secretary Grant Shapps, who confirmed the information but did not provide further details.

Iran and Russia have been working on a long-term agreement for several years, aiming to formalize and deepen their bilateral relations. This comprehensive cooperation agreement was initially conceived under former President Hassan Rouhani and officially announced by his successor, Ebrahim Raisi, who highlighted its potential to shape the countries' relations over the next 20 years after meeting with Putin and presenting the draft in 2022.

Although the agreement was anticipated to be signed this year, the Russian side announced on Wednesday that the process was stalled due to “issues faced by our Iranian partners.” Russia's TASS news agency quoted foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, stating that several "procedural legislative actions" need to be completed before the agreement can be finalized.

The specifics of these "actions" remain unclear, and it is uncertain if they are related to the upcoming presidential elections in Iran, which were unexpectedly announced after Raisi's death in a helicopter crash last month.

On Friday, it was revealed that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran’s acting president, Mohammad Mokhber, had a phone conversation on Thursday evening, apparently to address rumors about the agreement’s halt. According to the Kremlin, both sides expressed their interest in continuing the development of Russian-Iranian cooperation, particularly in joint energy and transport projects.

Reza Talebi, a political correspondent for Iran International, speculated that the halt might be a strategic move by Putin to increase pressure on an isolated Iran. "It's a message from Vladimir Putin to Tehran, cautioning them against changing their policies, especially regarding Ukraine and the Gaza conflict. It also aims to pressure the incoming Iranian government into negotiating more favorable terms," he said.

Despite severe international sanctions, Russia and Iran have expanded their economic relations, with bilateral trade amounting to $4 billion—far below the target of $40 billion set by Iranian officials. In December, the two countries agreed to eliminate the use of the US dollar in their bilateral trade, which Iran's central bank governor described as a "new chapter," though it holds more symbolic significance than practical economic impact.