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Israeli spy chief says Iran’s attempts to supply Russia with missiles ‘foiled’

David Barnea (U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/WikiCommons)
September 16, 2023

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The head of Israel’s intelligence agency said on September 10 that Iran’s attempts to supply Russia with missiles had been foiled, The Times of Israel reported.

Speaking at an annual counterterrorism conference in Israel, Mossad chief David Barnea did not elaborate on how the supply deal was interrupted and by whom.

“I have a feeling that more deals will be foiled soon,” he said, again without elaborating.

Russia has been turning to allies like Iran and North Korea for weapon supplies, including missiles, as Western sanctions hinder the speed of domestic production.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to visit Russia in the coming days to seal a possible weapons deal.

Iran has already provided Russia with hundreds of Shahed-136 drones, which have rained terror on Ukrainian cities.

Barnea said Iran had intentions to provide Russia with short- and long-range missiles.

Russia has been using its own missiles to bomb civilian targets in an attempt to demoralize citizens but supply is low.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in December that the United States believed Iran was considering the sale of “hundreds of ballistic missiles” to Russia.

In return, Russia was offering Iran “an unprecedented level of military and technical support that is transforming their relationship into a full-fledged defense partnership,” he said at the time.

Kirby said Russia was training Iranian pilots on the Sukhoi Su-35 fighter, with Iran potentially receiving deliveries of the plane within the year.

He said the fighter planes would significantly strengthen Iran’s air force relative to its regional neighbors.

Barena told the audience he was concerned about Russia supplying weapons to Iran.

“Our fear is that the Russians will transfer to the Iranians in return what they lack, advanced weapons that will certainly endanger our peace, and maybe even our existence here,” he said.

On Iran’s nuclear program and a potential agreement with world powers that would see sanctions on Iran eased, Barnea urged the international community to “be on high alert.”

“Iran’s known nuclear weapon ambitions, and its past attempts to implement them, require that the international community be on high alert, and demonstrate unflagging determination to foil these ambitions,” he said.