Russia is offering to help Iran with its missile program in exchange for attack drones and other weapons, and is considering providing Iran with fighter jets. CIA Director William Burns said this in an interview with CBS, CNN reports. According to him, the alliance between Russia and Iran is developing rapidly, and this is a “disturbing” narrative.
“Now it’s moving pretty quickly in a very dangerous direction in the sense that we know the Iranians have already provided the Russians with hundreds of attack drones that they’re using to hurt Ukrainian civilians and destroy Ukrainian civilian infrastructure. We know they’ve provided ammunition for artillery and tanks,” Burns said.
He added that the CIA also sees signs that Russia is offering to help the Iranians with their missile program and is at least considering providing fighter jets to Iran in exchange for military assistance in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Burns also described his conversation with the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, and said Russian dictator Vladimir Putin was “overconfident” in his ability to defeat Ukraine.
CIA Burns holds conversation with Naryshkin
The CIA director described the conversation with Naryshkin “pretty sad,” but said he understood some key points.
“My goal was not to talk about negotiations. This is something the Ukrainians will have to discuss with the Russians when they see fit. I tried to make clear to Naryshkin — and through him to President Putin — the serious consequences if Russia ever decides to use any nuclear weapons. And I think Naryshkin understood the seriousness of this issue, and I think President Putin understood it as well,” Burns said.
Asked why the conversation was sad, Burns added: “There was also a very cocky attitude from the part of Mr Naryshkin, a sense of audacity and arrogance that reflects Putin’s own view — his own belief today that he can make time work for him that he believes he can wear down the Ukrainians, that he can wear down our European allies, that political fatigue will eventually come.”
On February 25, British intelligence reported that the Russian occupiers had probably exhausted their supply of Iranian Shahed-136 kamikaze drones and would try to replenish them. According to The Guardian, Iran is secretly shipping new types of advanced long-range combat drones to Russia."