Listen to this article Iran Sends 1 Million Rounds Of Ammunition And 300,000 Artillery Shells To Russia In Six Months
Iranian-Made Ammunition Transported to Russia by Cargo Ships Across Caspian Sea
Russian cargo ships have been transporting large quantities of Iranian-made artillery shells and other ammunition across the Caspian Sea to resupply Russian troops fighting in Ukraine, according to Middle Eastern officials cited by The Wall Street Journal. The shipments have become a growing concern for the United States and its allies, who are trying to disrupt cooperation between Moscow and Tehran.
Ammunition Shipments in the Past Six Months
In the past six months, cargo ships have transported over 300,000 artillery shells and 1 million rounds of ammunition from Iran to Russia, according to officials and documents seen by The Wall Street Journal.
Details on the Last Shipment
The last shipment of weapons known to have crossed the Caspian Sea to Russia left Iran in early March aboard cargo ship Rasul Gamzatov, a 460-foot Russian vessel. It carried 1,000 containers with 2,000 artillery shells, a previously unreported shipment. Publicly available shipping data suggests that the Rasul Gamzatov left the Iranian port of Bandar Amirabad on March 8 and arrived in Astrakhan, Russia, six days later. The vessel sailed back to Iran in late March and left for Russia once again, staying in docks for only a day.
US Officials and Intervention Challenges
US officials state that Iran mainly uses cargo planes to deliver weapons to Russia, making intervention almost impossible. Taking action in the Caspian Sea would require help from the former Soviet republics located on its coast.
Russian Company’s Response
The Russian company MG-Flot, which owns the Rasul Gamzatov, did not respond to requests for comment. Last year, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the company, stating that 16 of its vessels, including the Rasul Gamzatov, were transporting weapons for Russia.
Iranian and Russian Response
The Iranian delegation to the UN and the Russian Defense Ministry also did not respond to requests for comment. The White House declined to comment on the issue.
Iran and Russia’s Relationship
Russia turned to Iran for help last summer. Iran initially provided Russia with hundreds of kamikaze drones and agreed to provide Russia with more than 300,000 artillery shells. One contract from September 2022, viewed by WSJ, showed a deal between Iran’s Defense Ministry and Russia’s JSC Rosoboronexport for over 74,000 artillery shells to be sold to Russia for US $1.7 million. Middle Eastern officials say Russia has not yet sent Iran advanced Su-35 fighter jets. However, a group of Iranians recently visited a factory in Russia’s east that produces these modern jet fighters. This could be a sign that the deal is moving forward.
US and Allies’ Previous Concerns
Several months ago, the United States and other allies of Ukraine stressed that Iran was ready to send ballistic missiles to Russia. However, according to US and foreign experts, this has not happened yet.
Evolving Relationship from Transactional to Strategic
Iran’s relationship with Russia is gradually moving from transactional to strategic, according to Anna Borshchevskaya, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Russia is now dependent on Iran for the first time in the broad scope of the Russia-Iran relationship. It’s a historic shift,” she said.
Also Read This :