Library image of Marine helicopter landing at White House (Picture: US Department of Defense).
Library image of the White House, Washington DC, USA (Picture: US Department of Defense).
Russia

Russian officials visited Iran to view drones, White House says

Library image of Marine helicopter landing at White House (Picture: US Department of Defense).
Library image of the White House, Washington DC, USA (Picture: US Department of Defense).

The White House says Russian officials have visited an airfield in central Iran at least twice in recent weeks to view weapons-capable drones that they are looking to acquire for use in Ukraine.

The Biden administration said Iran showcased the drones for Russian officials on 8 June and 15 July.

The White House also released satellite imagery of Shahed-191 and Shahed-129 drones being displayed and in flight on the airfield, while a Russian delegation transport plane was on the ground.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the administration has "information that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with several hundred UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)".

"We assess an official Russian delegation recently received a showcase of Iranian attack-capable UAVs.

"We are releasing these images captured in June showing Iranian UAVs that the Russian government delegation saw that day," Mr Sullivan added in a statement.

"This suggests ongoing Russian interest in acquiring Iranian attack-capable UAVs."

He said US officials believe the June visit "was the first time a Russian delegation has visited this airfield for such a showcase".

It comes as US President Joe Biden prepares to meet six Arab Gulf leaders, plus representatives from Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, for a regional summit.

It is expected he will lay out a major statement explaining his vision for the Middle East as he closes the final leg of a four-day trip meant to bolster US positioning and knit the region together against Tehran.