White House says Iran is preparing to give Russia several hundred drones to aid its Ukraine invasion

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  • The White House says Iran is poised to give Russia hundreds of drones to help in its Ukraine invasion.

  • This includes "weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline," national security advisor Jake Sullivan said.

  • The revelation came ahead of Biden's first trip to the Middle East since entering the White House.

The US has intelligence that suggests Iran is going to provide Russia with hundreds of drones to boost its war effort in Ukraine, national security advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Monday, per the Associated Press.

"Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline," Sullivan said, employing the acronym for unmanned aerial vehicles (colloquially known as drones).

Sullivan also said the US's information indicated Iran could train Russian forces to use the drones as early as this month.

The announcement from Sullivan came amid stalled, indirect talks between the US and Iran aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal — the Obama-era pact that President Donald Trump withdrew the US from in May 2018. The deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), imposed restrictions that aimed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. After Trump broke from the pact and reimposed sanctions, tensions between Washington and Tehran reached historic heights.

President Joe Biden has made restoring the JCPOA a key foreign policy priority, but indirect negotiations between the US and Iran have failed to yield an agreement so far.

Biden is set to travel to the Middle East this week and will make visits to Israel, the occupied West Bank, and Saudi Arabia. It will mark Biden's first journey to the Middle East as president.

Iran and the efforts to breathe life back into the JCPOA are expected to be major topics of discussion as Biden meets with Israeli and Arab leaders during his time in the region. Both the Israelis and Saudis regard Iran as a threat and have repeatedly criticized or expressed opposition to the 2015 nuclear deal.

In a Washington Post op-ed published on Saturday, Biden underscored that he's determined to revive the nuclear pact. "My administration will continue to increase diplomatic and economic pressure until Iran is ready to return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, as I remain prepared to do," Biden wrote.

Read the original article on Business Insider