WSJ: Iran may supply Russia with ballistic missiles as early as this spring, North Korea has handed over some

Oleksandra Opanasenko

Russia plans to buy short-range ballistic missiles from Iran — delivery could take place this spring.

The Wall Street Journal writes about this, citing sources among American officials.

Moscowʼs plans caused deep concern in the Biden administration. The Russian negotiations on the acquisition of short-range ballistic missiles in Iran are actively advancing, and it is not so easy to approve new military aid for Ukraine, because Congress did not approve additional funding until the end of 2023.

Iranian missiles could be delivered as early as this spring if the purchase is extended, but US officials do not believe the deal is done.

U.S. officials said Moscowʼs desire to acquire Iranian missiles became apparent in mid-December, when a Russian delegation visited an Iranian test site to view ballistic missiles and related equipment. Missiles, in particular the short-range Ababil, were presented to the Russians by the Aerospace Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

The previously undisclosed visit followed Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoiguʼs September visit to the headquarters of the IRGC Aerospace Forces in Tehran. According to American officials, during this visit, Shoigu inspected an exhibition of Ababil missiles and other missile systems. He also met with Major General Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of Staff of Iranʼs Armed Forces, and boasted that Russian-Iranian relations are reaching a new level.

The US also has data that over the past few weeks, Russia has received several dozen short-range ballistic missiles and launchers from North Korea. They were sent to the Far East. The newspaper does not write about exactly which missiles and systems this refers to.

In the DPRK, the Hwasong-5 and Hwasong-6 missiles are in service in the short-range class, the first is an analogue of the Soviet R-17. Publicly available data say that its range is from 320 to 340 km, and the warhead weighs a ton. Hwasong-6 has a range of up to 600 km and a warhead of 770 kg.

  • Russia became closer to Iran after the February 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Among other things, Tehran provided the Russian regime with thousands of kamikaze drones and their production technology. Since last year, there have been unconfirmed reports that Iran may transfer ballistic missiles to Russia.