Iran and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

Iran has provided Russia with loitering munitions for use in the latter's invasion of Ukraine. Several countries have accused Iran of violating the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.


The United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 enacted an arms embargo on Iran in 2015. The embargo on conventional Iranian arms ended in October 2020, but the restrictions on Iran regarding missiles and related technologies are in place until October 2023.[1]

Drone deliveries

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. By 12 April, Russia's attempt to take Kyiv had failed. On that date, The Guardian reported that Iran was smuggling weapons from Iraq to Russia.[2] On 11 July, and again on 17 July, with Russian drone supplies running low, US officials said that Iran was planning to provide Russia with drones.[3][4] By 17 October, with Russia losing ground to Ukrainian counteroffensives in the East and in the South, Russia had obtained Iranian suicide drones, which it used to attack civilian infrastructure. [5] By 18 October, Iranian trainers were in Crimea helping Russia to use Iranian drones.[6]

On 16 October, the Washington Post reported that Iran was planning to supply Russia with both drones and missiles.[7] On 21 November, the Ukrainian defense ministry said that according to the Israeli press, Israel might respond by transferring short-range and medium-range missiles to Ukraine.[8]

On 18 October 2022 the U.S. State Department accused Iran of violating Resolution 2231 by selling Shahed 131 and Shahed 136 drones to Russia,[9][10] agreeing with similar assessments by France and the United Kingdom. Iran denied sending arms for use in the Ukraine war.[11][12] On 22 October France, Britain and Germany formally called for an investigation by the UN team responsible for UNSCR 2231.[13]

On 1 November, CNN reported that Iran was preparing to send ballistic missiles and other weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine.[14]

On 21 November, CNN reported that an intelligence assessment had concluded that Iran planned to help Russia begin production of Iran-designed drones in Russia. The country making the intelligence assessment was not named.[15]

Ukrainian response

On 3 November, Ukraine warned Iran to expect an "absolutely ruthless" response if it were to continue supplying weapons to Russia.[16] On 24 November, Ukraine announced that Iranian military advisers had been killed in Crimea. It said that Iranians in occupied territory would continue to be targeted.[17]

Iranian forces in Ukraine

On 21 October, a White House press release stated that Iranian troops were in Crimea assisting Russia in launching drone attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure.[18] On November 24 Ukrainian officials said the military had killed ten Iranians and would target any further Iranian military presence in Ukraine.[19] The Institute for the Study of War assessed that these are likely Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or IRGC-affiliated personnel, as this formation is the primary operator of Iranian drones.[20]

Impact on Iran–United States relations

Iran's support for Russia, combined with Iranian suppression of the Mahsa Amini protests, and moves towards increased Uranium enrichment, has led to a more confrontational relationship between the United States and Iran. As of 24 November, the United States was not looking to revive any nuclear deal with Iran and had recently imposed additional sanctions on Iran.[21]


  1. ^ Lederer, Edith M. (19 October 2022). "Ukraine accuses Iran of violating UN ban on transferring drones". PBS. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  2. ^ "Russia using weapons 'smuggled by Iran' in Ukraine | First Thing". the Guardian. 2022-04-12. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  3. ^ "White House: Iran set to deliver armed drones to Russia". AP NEWS. 2022-07-11. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  4. ^ Schmitt, Eric; Gibbons-Neff, Thomas; Ismay, John (2022-07-17). "As Russia Runs Low on Drones, Iran Plans to Step In, U.S. Officials Say". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  5. ^ Kottasová, Ivana (2022-10-17). "'Kamikaze' drones are the latest threat for Ukraine. Here's what we know". CNN. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  6. ^ Barnes, Julian E. (2022-10-18). "Iran Sends Drone Trainers to Crimea to Aid Russian Military". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Israel may transfer high-precision ballistic missiles to Ukraine if the Russian Federation receives Iranian ones - mass media". Militarnyi. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  9. ^ "Ukraine war: US says Iranian drones breach sanctions". BBC. 18 October 2022.
  10. ^ "Russians began to use Shahed-131 kamikaze drones".
  11. ^ Raine, Niamh Kennedy,Negar Mahmoodi,Ivana Kottasová,Andrew (2022-10-16). "Iran denies supplying Russia with weapons for use in Ukraine". CNN. Retrieved 2022-10-18.
  12. ^ "Iranian foreign ministry spokesman reacts to some claims about shipment of arms including military drones by Iran to Ukraine". Retrieved 2022-10-18.
  13. ^ "European countries urge UN probe of Iran drones in Ukraine". France 24. AFP. 22 October 2022. Retrieved 5 November 2022.
  14. ^ Atwood, Kylie (2022-11-01). "Iran is preparing to send additional weapons including ballistic missiles to Russia to use in Ukraine, western officials say | CNN Politics". CNN. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  15. ^ Atwood, Kylie (2022-11-21). "Russia to build attack drones for Ukraine war with the help of Iran, intelligence assessment says | CNN Politics". CNN. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  16. ^ "November 2, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news". CNN. 2022-11-02. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  17. ^ "Iranian advisers killed aiding Russians in Crimea, says Kyiv". the Guardian. 2022-11-24. Retrieved 2022-11-29.
  18. ^ Madhani, Aamer; Miller, Zeke (21 October 2022). "US: Iranian troops in Crimea backing Russian drone strikes". AP News. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
  19. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, November 25". Institute for the Study of War. 2022-11-25. Retrieved 2022-11-26.
  20. ^ "Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, October 12". Institute for the Study of War. 2022-10-12. Retrieved 2022-11-26.
  21. ^ David E. Sanger (24 November 2022). "United States Enters a New Era of Direct Confrontation With Iran". New York Times. Retrieved 24 November 2022.

External links

Media related to Unmanned aerial military vehicles of Iran at Wikimedia Commons

  • v
  • t
  • e
Foreign relations
Southern Ukraine
Eastern Ukraine
Northeastern Ukraine
Russian occupations
Strikes on military targets
Potentially related incidents
Attacks on civilians
Attacks on prisoners of war
Legal cases
States and
official entities
United States
Other countries
United Nations
Human rights
Terms and phrases
Popular culture
Key people
Ukraine Ukrainians
Russia Russians
  • Category
  • Commons
  • Meta-Wiki