WH National Security Adviser: Iran Preparing to Send Russia Drones for Ukraine War National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan talks to reporters. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
By Jay Clemons | Monday, 11 July 2022 06:48 PM EDT
The Biden administration believes the Iranian government might soon provide Russia with hundreds of military drones in order to aid Moscow in its war with Ukraine, according to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
While speaking to reporters Monday, Sullivan said, "our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia up to several hundred UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], including weapons-capable UAVs, on an expedited timeline."
Regarding the UAVs, Sullivan says the Iranians could also train Russian forces on how to use the drones, although it's unclear if any machines have been shipped to Russia yet.
U.S. intelligence speculates that Russia has incurred a dwindling munitions stockpile, as the war with Ukraine approaches its fifth full month of nonstop activity.
As such, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin might now require outside sources of weaponry — such as Iran's drones — to fortify its own supply.
During his media session, Sullivan noted that Iran supplied similar weapons to the Houthis in Yemen, as a means of helping launch attacks against Saudi Arabia before a cease-fire was brokered.
Sullivan expressed confidence the Ukrainians, with assistance from the U.S. and other countries, would be able to "effectively defend and sustain" the capital of Kyiv, which Russia has repeatedly failed to overtake since the onset of the war.
He also argued that Russia has "substantially failed to achieve its objectives in Ukraine," referring to Moscow's inability to close out the war, sooner than later.
Sullivan's comments come in advance of President Joe Biden's upcoming trip to the Middle East, where the president is expected to meet with leaders from Israel and Saudi Arabia this week.
Iran and its nuclear program are expected to be primary topics of discussion on the Middle East tour.
Despite Monday's news, the Biden administration reportedly remains open to reentering an agreement similar to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known in some circles as the Iran nuclear deal, which intended to limit Iran's nuclear activity in exchange for a rollback of worldwide sanctions.
The U.S., China, France, Germany, Russia and United Kingdom entered into the JCPOA agreement back then, establishing nuclear-related provisions for Iran to follow.
The plan was subsequently endorsed by the U.N, Security Council Resolution and verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
However, in May 2018, the Trump administration terminated what it called a ''defective'' agreement, following through on a campaign promise made in the 2016 election cycle.