U.S. Diverts Seized Iranian Weapons to Aid Ukrainian Forces

In a significant move signaling support for the Ukrainian military, the United States is set to transfer a large cache of seized Iranian weapons and ammunition to Ukraine.

by Faruk Imamovic
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U.S. Diverts Seized Iranian Weapons to Aid Ukrainian Forces
© Getty Images News/Sean Gallup

In a significant move signaling support for the Ukrainian military, the United States is set to transfer a large cache of seized Iranian weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. This comes as Ukraine grapples with equipment shortages amidst growing demands for increased support from the US and its NATO allies.

A Welcome Boost for Ukrainian Forces

Earlier this week, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that they had already transported over one million rounds of the seized Iranian ammunition to the Ukrainian armed forces.

According to a CENTCOM press release, the handover was effectively carried out on Monday. The origins of these munitions trace back to a U.S. Central Command naval operation. “These munitions were initially apprehended by our naval forces from the transiting stateless dhow MARWAN 1 on December 9, 2022,” the release detailed.

The intercepted munitions were allegedly en route from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to Yemen's Houthi rebels, in direct contravention of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216.

From Seizure to Support: A Tactical Strategy

The US administration under President Biden has long deliberated on the legal and strategic nuances of distributing these seized armaments, stored in CENTCOM units throughout the Middle East, to the Ukrainian forces.

Speaking on this development, Jonathan Lord, the director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security, commented, “While this may not address all of Ukraine’s defense requisites, it undeniably offers pivotal support." In an op-ed penned in February, Lord had advocated for the US to forward the confiscated Iranian weapons to Ukraine.

Lord further opined that this initiative holds more than just military significance. The maneuver might recalibrate the geopolitical dynamics between Iran, Russia, and the West. Drawing attention to the frequent usage of Iranian Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) by Russian forces against Ukrainian citizens, he added, “There's an inherent poetic justice in Ukraine deploying seized Iranian weaponry to shield its citizens from the illicit onslaught by Russia.

Moreover, this policy might indeed strain the evolving rapport between Moscow and Tehran”. This move, while addressing immediate tactical needs, also serves as a broader commentary on the shifting sands of global alliances and the complex interplay of defense, diplomacy, and deterrence in the modern era.

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