In recent months, there has been increasing discussion about the growing relationship between Russia and Iran. Both countries have been at odds with the West in various ways, so, unsurprisingly, there is some concern about what a deeper military collaboration could mean for the region.

The Potential Risks of Russian-Iranian Military Cooperation Amid Sanctions

According to assessments by western officials, Russia has refrained from buying ballistic missiles from Iran out of fear that Ukraine’s allies would counter by supplying Kyiv with long-range rockets in response. This reluctance indicates the potential risks involved in such a move, considering the United States threat to provide Kyiv with the long-sought “Atacms” missile system, which has a 300km range and could reach deep into Russian territory.

The emergence of this risk is further exacerbated by Iran’s willingness to engage in military cooperation with Russia. In recent months, it has sent hundreds of armed drones to Russia, which have been used to attack Ukrainian critical infrastructure. Consequently, this development has raised concerns among western capitals, who believe that Tehran may be planning more military operations in collaboration with Moscow and could eventually result in an armed confrontation between Russia and Ukraine. 

Former CIA director and retired army general General David Petraeus warned that the US would obviously retaliate if these two nations continued to bond over their alliance against Ukraine and NATO.