Russia sends captured Western weapons to Iran so that “Iranian army can make its own version” | War Ukraine and Russia

Russia has sent some of the US and NATO-supplied weapons captured in Ukraine to Iran. The Iranian army will try to make its own version based on that, US officials warn.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian forces have captured smaller Western weapons such as Javelin anti-tank weapons and the portable Stinger anti-aircraft missiles from the battlefield after Ukrainian soldiers were forced to abandon them.

US officials do not believe the issue is widespread or systematic. In addition, since the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian military has made it a practice to report any loss of US-supplied equipment to the Pentagon. Yet US officials acknowledge that this is difficult to verify in practice, writes CNN.

Late last year, the Pentagon stepped up efforts to trace US weapons supplied to Ukraine, including through on-site inspections by military personnel stationed at the US embassy in Kiev. But that does not alter the fact that Western weapons occasionally fall into the hands of the Russians.

A Ukrainian soldier with a Javelin anti-tank weapon near Kharkiv ©AFP

CNN reports – citing four sources familiar with the matter – that Russia is sending those captured weapons to Tehran so that the Iranian military has a chance to make its own version of the Western weapons by dismantling and analyzing them. Thus, the Kremlin remains assured of Iranian support for the war in Ukraine.

Very skilled

Tehran has historically proved highly adept at developing weapon systems based on US equipment it has acquired in the past. It is as yet unclear whether Iran has succeeded in doing so this time with the weapons captured from Ukraine.

“Iran has historically demonstrated its ability to convert US weapons,” Jonathan Lord, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told CNN. “They converted the TOW anti-tank missile into a near-perfect replica that they dubbed the Toophan. They have since distributed it to the Houthis and Hezbollah,” he explains. “Iran, for example, could do the same with a Stinger, which could threaten both civil and military aviation across the region,” warns Lord.

The White House is already very concerned about the large-scale military partnership that exists between Tehran and Moscow: “It is detrimental to Ukraine, Iran’s neighbors and the international community.”

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