September 24, 2023

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Russia supplies cyber weapons to Iran in exchange for Shahed drones – WSJ

Russia is supplying Iran with cyber weapons, including digital surveillance tools, in order to get the relatively cheap and effective drones it uses to strike Ukrainian infrastructure facilities.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, reports European Pravda

Details: According to the newspaper’s sources among US and Iranian officials, cooperation between Moscow and Tehran intensified after the latter agreed to provide, in addition to drones, short-range missiles and tank and artillery rounds.

Quote: “Russian authorities have determined that the benefits of advancing the military relationship with Iran outweigh any downsides,” WSJ said.

Iran is seeking the cyber help along with what US and Iranian officials have said are requests for dozens of elite Russian attack helicopters, jet fighters, and aid with its long-range missile program.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the key supplier of cyber services to Iran is the Russian company PROTEI, which has contracts with the Russian Defence Ministry.

Since the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine, Russia has provided Iran with communication-surveillance capabilities, as well as eavesdropping devices, advanced photography devices and lie detectors. Software that would allow it to hack the phones and systems of dissidents and adversaries was also mentioned.

Iran has long worked to develop its cyber weapons, and Iranian government hackers conduct disinformation campaigns and attack infrastructure in rival countries, such as the US and Saudi Arabia.

Since the summer of 2022, Russia has been using Iranian-made Shahed drones in Ukraine, which it claims are Russian drones called Geran. Despite the assertions of Kyiv and the West, Iran has repeatedly denied that it is helping the Russian Federation with weapons, but has admitted that they were sending drones before the start of the full-scale invasion.

Since then, the US and other Western countries have consistently imposed sanctions against Iranian companies and people involved in the production of drones and their provision to Russia.

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