US State Department: Strengthening Russia-Iran alliance poses a profound threat

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This week, the dispute between the West and Iran took on a new facet after the United States suspected that Iranian troops in the Crimea were assisting Russia in attacking Ukraine with weaponized drones built in Iran.

“Russia’s deepening alliance with Iran is something that the whole world should see as a profound threat and something that every country should be watching closely,” Elizabeth Stickney, the US State Department’s regional spokesperson for the US State Department, said in exclusive remarks to Shark al-Awsat. This is something we are doing, and we are in close contact with our allies and partners, including working with them at the United Nations to counter Iran’s dangerous arms exports to Russia.”

Last Friday, France, Germany and the UK sent a letter to the UN Security Council (UNSC) and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calling for an impartial investigation into Iranian-made UCAVs used by Russia in its war against Ukraine.

Stickney continued his special statement as follows;

“The United States will work to identify, deter, and counter Iranian arms supplies to Russia by any means necessary, including by imposing further sanctions. Anyone involved with Iran in any way that may be related to the production of UCAV or ballistic missile technologies or the export of arms from Iran to Russia should be very careful. The United States will not hesitate to impose sanctions against those involved.”

Referring to his country’s position on the Iranian authorities’ suppression of the protests that have been going on for weeks, Stickney said that the US has taken concrete steps since the protests began.

“First, we have sanctioned the so-called Morality Police and its senior leadership for their role in the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, and we have sanctioned the Iranian Communications Minister for his role in shutting down and blocking the Iranian people’s access to the Internet,” Stickney said.

Stating that the US has licensed a number of US-based companies to provide services to Iran so that the Iranian people can better communicate with the internal and external world and access the internet, Stickney said, “These companies have begun to take responsibility and have taken steps to provide their services in Iran.”

Stickney also addressed the situation of dual US citizens detained by Iran, especially after the massive fire at Evin Prison in Tehran, which killed at least four people.

“The safety of US citizens detained in Iran has been confirmed and they are safe. We are closely monitoring their situation. We will continue to work with other countries, many of whose citizens are detained in Evin Prison, to remind Iran of its responsibility for the safety of our detained citizens. We reiterate our call for the immediate release of all US citizens unjustly detained in Iran.”

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