Russia-Iran Military Cooperation: The Dynamic Is Changing Dramatically Because of Drones in the Ukraine War
Russia's struggles in Ukraine, marked by military setbacks, pushed Moscow to seek a cost- effective arms supplier. Iran readily stepped in. Supplying Russia with UAVs, particularly Kamikaze drones, marked a significant shift in Russo-Persian military ties. Historically, this was an "asymmetric partnership." Russia, one of the few to offer Iran arms and political support, held the upper hand. Conversely, Iran, with minimal "bargaining power," relied heavily on Russia as other major powers were either indifferent or hostile to it. However, this imbalance was more due to "urgent need" than mere "power disparity." For two centuries, challenges ranging from internal revolts, British pressures, to the war with Iraq and international sanctions compelled Iran to lean on Russian military aid. The West and Israel's persistent threats only deepened Iran's reliance on Russia. Now, the dynamic has shifted. Russia's dire need for arms introduces a new mutual dependence in Russo-Persian military relations.