US and G-7 allies warn Iran to drop plan to supply Russia with ballistic missiles or face new sanctions

(Uncredited / Associated Press)

US and G-7 allies warn Iran to drop plan to supply Russia with ballistic missiles or face new sanctions



March 15, 2024

The United States and allies warned Iran on Friday that major Western economies will impose new sanctions on Tehran if the country moves forward with a rolling plan to supply Russia with ballistic missiles for its war against Ukraine.

The Biden administration has warned for months that Russia is seeking close-range ballistic missiles from Iran as Moscow struggles to replenish its dwindling supplies.

The US has yet to confirm that any missiles have been moved from Iran to Russia. But US officials are alarmed by comments from Iranian officials suggesting a deal is imminent.

One action that the Group of


Countries are considering banning Iran Air, the country’s flag carrier, from flying to Europe, a senior Biden administration official said. The official, who was not authorized to comment and insisted on anonymity, declined to preview other sanctions the U.S. is considering beyond describing the possible action as major measures.

Should Iran continue to supply ballistic missiles or related technology to Russia, we are prepared to respond quickly and in a coordinated manner, including with new and significant measures against Iran, the G-7 leaders said in a statement.

Iran’s UN mission said last month that there are no legal restrictions preventing the country from selling ballistic missiles


is morally obliged to refrain from arms transactions during the conflict between Russia and Ukraine to avoid fueling the war.

The U.S. and Europe already impose sweeping sanctions on Iran, targeting individuals and restricting the country’s access to trade, financial services, energy, technology and other sectors. The sanctions on Iran are perhaps the most comprehensive and comprehensive set of sanctions the United States maintains against any country, targeting thousands of individuals and entities.

The Democratic administration said in January that U.S. intelligence officials had determined that a deal between Russia and Iran had not yet been finalized, but that they were concerned that Russian negotiations to acquire missiles from Iran were actively progressing.

According to the White House, Iran hosted Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in September to show off a range of ballistic missile systems, a moment that raised US concerns that a deal could be reached.

The US and other countries have taken steps to thwart any supply, sale or transfer involving Iran and ballistic missile-related items, including issuing guidance to private companies on Iranian missile procurement practices to ensure they do not inadvertently undermine Iran’s development efforts to support.

“We have sent very clear messages to Iran not to do it, this is a subject of much discussion among a number of countries,” Foreign Minister Antony said.


Blinken said this during a press conference


Friday in Vienna.

The Biden administration has repeatedly tried to show that the Kremlin has become dependent on Iran and North Korea for the weapons it needs to wage its war against Ukraine, and has released intelligence data that it says shows this.

Russia has acquired and used North Korean ballistic missiles against Ukraine. However, Ukrainian officials say North Korean missiles, when deployed by Russian forces, have often missed targets.

Russia has received hundreds of one-way attack drones and drone production equipment from Iran, according to the White House. The Biden administration has also accused Tehran of supplying Russia with materials to build a drone factory east of Moscow.

Iran initially denied supplying drones to Russia. Tehran later acknowledged supplying only a small number before Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine.

Madhani writes for the Associated Press. AP Diplomatic Correspondent Matthew Lee contributed to this report from Vienna.


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