The United States and its allies are moving to treat Iran as a global threat, warning that its growing alliance with Russia — and cooperation in the war on Ukraine — mean Tehran’s destabilizing activities will pose a greater danger than ever before.
“We are now at a point where Iranian threats are no longer specific to the Middle East, but a global challenge,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dana Stroul told reporters during a media call Tuesday.
Stroul pointed to the enhanced military cooperation between Tehran and Moscow and specifically to Iran’s provision of one-way drones to the Russian military, calling for “a global coalition to push back on the malign cooperation between Iran and Russia.”
“It is reasonable to expect that the tactics, techniques and procedures that the Iranians are learning and perfecting in Ukraine will one day come back to our partners in the Middle East, which is why we are increasing cooperation now, intelligence sharing, understanding these networks and increasing our collective defensive capabilities so that we are prepared to counter these threats in the region,” she said.
Stroul is the latest high ranking U.S. official to sound the alarm about Iran’s alliance with Russia.
This past Sunday, CIA Director William Burns called the growing relationship “disturbing.”
“It’s moving at a pretty fast clip in a very dangerous direction right now,” Burns said during an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“We know that the Iranians have already provided hundreds or armed drones to the Russians. … We know that they’ve provided ammunition for artillery and for tanks, as well,” he said, adding there are signs Moscow could give Iran Russian-made fighter jets and even help Tehran with its ballistic missile program.
Iran denies it has provided drones to Russia.
The description of Iran as a “global challenge” appears to be a departure from language used by the U.S. intelligence community just last year.
“Iran will remain a regional menace with broader malign influence activities,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in its annual Worldwide Threats Assessment report.
“The Iranian regime sees itself as locked in an existential struggle with the United States and its regional allies, while it pursues its longstanding ambitions for regional leadership,” the report noted, adding Iran’s leadership would seek to “entrench its influence and project power in neighboring states.”
The State Department’s just-released report, Country Reports on Terrorism 2021, called Iran “the leading state sponsor of terrorism, facilitating a wide range of terrorist and other illicit activities around the world.”
The report further warns that Tehran maintains “a near-global procurement network,” to acquire cutting-edge technology for its military and its various proxies, like Hezbollah.