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Iran–Russia Alliance Deepens as Moscow Backs Tehran’s Attack on Israel

April 17, 2024

by: Lior Ben Ari ~ Ynetnews

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Russia has voiced its support of Iran’s attack on Israel (illustrative).

Wednesday, 17 April 2024 | While many Western leaders rushed to issue statements supporting Israel and condemning Iran’s unprecedented attack, Russia took the opposite approach, justifying the massive attack on several occasions. President Vladimir Putin remained silent on the attack, but Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya justified the Iranian action, criticized Israel and used the entire issue to accuse Western countries of “bias.”

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, harshly attacked Israel’s ambassador in Moscow, Simona Halperin, for demanding Russia condemn the Iranian attack on Israel. In recent days, Russia’s state media outlets have expressed strong criticism against Israel and expressed support for Iran.

One media personality, Sergey Mardan, said on a program aired on Russian state radio that “Russia supports the Iranian attack on Israel because the Iranians are military partners of Russia.” He also expressed hope that Iran would succeed in shooting down Israeli fighter jets. All of this is not just happening randomly, but serves as a demonstration of the significant importance Russia currently places on its relations with Tehran, with a focus on strengthening security and military ties.

Intelligence sources in the West currently describe Moscow–Tehran relations as a deepening strategic partnership. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 was a major factor contributing to the consolidation of this partnership, due to Russia’s reliance on Iranian military assistance in the early months of the war. Russia began acquiring military equipment from Iran on a large scale and made deadly use of it against Ukraine.

Since then, this cooperation has deepened into other areas and now, amid escalating tensions between Iran and Israel, it is gaining special importance in the Israeli context. The Iranians themselves have learned much and gleaned lessons from the way the Russians operated Iranian equipment across Ukraine, seemingly enhancing their capabilities. Additionally, Iran is expected to provide Russia with short- and medium-range surface-to-surface missiles. But what will Moscow give in return to the Iranians?

In this context, the deepening military cooperation between Moscow and Tehran reveals additional significant aspects from the Israeli perspective. Russia is expected to soon provide Iran with advanced fighter jets of the SU-35 model, which will become the most modern in the Iranian Air Force’s aging fleet, along with, likely, advanced air defense technologies to help Iran defend against any Israeli aerial attacks. This is particularly relevant today as reports increase about Israeli intentions to strike military targets on Iranian soil in response to the Iranian attack over the weekend.

The deepening military collaboration between Moscow and Tehran reflects a clear shift in their relationship. While in the past Russia mainly supplied arms to Iran, today it’s a two-way relationship and importantly, it encompasses extensive technological cooperation, knowledge exchange and joint development—whether in the realm of military equipment, where Russia has established a special production facility for arms in the Republic of Tatarstan with Tehran’s support, or in the areas of satellites and space, as well as various combat field systems.

It’s important to remember that the West—particularly the US and NATO—is a common enemy for both Russia and Iran. Ukraine’s war helps both countries “learn on the fly” and derive lessons. The close cooperation between the two countries serves their interests and greatly assists Tehran in enhancing its status from a minor partner to a strategic ally. In this regard, Israel must address the dramatic shift in Russia–Iran relations, which directly affects Israel’s relations with Russia, posing a clear challenge to them.

Posted on April 17, 2024

Source: (This article was originally published Ynetnews on April 16, 2024. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)

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