EU summit areas dig into alleged weapons ties between Iran and Russia

European Union leaders are expected to focus on China’s and Iran’s military involvement in Ukraine in today’s discussion of “external” relations.

The European Council meeting of 20 and 21 October, the decision-making body of the EU composed of its 27 heads of state, will examine Iran’s involvement in the war in Ukraine after yesterday’s disagreements over proposals to cap the price of Russian energy exports in the face of soaring prices.

Among the ideas circulating is a proposal made Friday by Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas to establish a special tribunal to examine Russian “aggression”. But it is unclear whether the EU will take further action against Iran or Russia over the alleged supply of Iranian drones (UAVs, unmanned aerial vehicles).

After Josep Borrell said on Monday that the EU needed evidence before acting, a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday considered the available information.

The EU and the UK on Thursday sanctioned three Iranian military commanders and a defense company for allegedly supplying drones to Russia. This followed the imposition by the United States of sanctions in September on four companies he said he was either involved in supplying Russia or copying US and Israeli drones.

US, French and British officials have argued that any supply of Iranian drones to Russia violates UNSC Resolution 2231, which endorsed Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). While the United States left the JCPOA in 2018 and State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday that reviving the deal was “largely academic at this time,” the United States argue that Resolution 2231 prevents Iran from exporting drones until October 2023. Price said Thursday that Washington is considering it “is important that the UN and every responsible member state of the UN respect the various Council resolutions of security “.

The engine of an alleged Iranian drone shot down in Ukraine. October 6, 2022

“All the means… to confront”

US officials argued Thursday not only that Iran had sent military personnel to train Russia in the use of Iranian-made drones. In a separate press conference, John Kirby, the White House national security spokesman, said Russian military personnel flying drones remotely used in Ukraine were based in Crimea. Kirby said the United States would use “all means” to “address Iran’s supply of this ammunition against the Ukrainian people.”

“We believe that Iranian personnel, Iranian military personnel, were on the ground in Crimea and assisted Russia in these operations,” Price said at a separate press conference. “Russia has received dozens of these drones…. a part of ..[the] the evidence was presented before the UN Security Council yesterday.

Price claimed that Moscow “may also seek to acquire advanced conventional weapons from Iran, potentially including surface-to-air missiles.” He also warned China that it would incur “costs” if it chose to provide security assistance, military assistance or systematically help Russia evade sanctions.

Ukraine can use the Iranian drone issue to seek more Western military aid, totaling about $17 billion so far from the United States, including 1,400 Stinger missiles, and $3.1 billion from the US. EU, including howitzers. Washington has refused to supply more advanced weapons so as not to escalate the conflict, believing that its current approach may exhaust Russia’s ability to wage war. Drones, although of limited military value, are much cheaper than missiles.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian Foreign Minister tweeted on Thursday that he had discussed with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid a request for missile defense assistance. Israel has so far refused to assist Ukraine militarily so as not to disrupt its relations with Russia.