US to announce new Iran sanctions over its support for Russia amid Ukraine war

White House says it is monitoring whether Iran has transferred any ballistic missiles to Russia

A Sayad-3 missile on display at an undisclosed location in Iran. Iranian Defence Ministry / AFP
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The White House on Thursday said it would impose additional sanctions on Iran and warned of a “swift and severe” global response if Tehran provides Russia with ballistic missiles to use in the war in Ukraine.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Iran has been sending “significant numbers” of drones, guided aerial bombs and artillery ammunition to Russia, and the US is closely monitoring whether Iran has transferred any close-range ballistic missiles”.

“We have not seen any confirmation that missiles have actually moved from Iran to Russia,” Mr Kirby said, adding that the US has “no reason to believe that [Iran] will not follow through.

“If Iran proceeds with this provision of ballistic missiles, I can assure you that the response in the international community will be swift and it will be severe.”

He said the US would also take the matter to the UN Security Council and co-ordinate further response options with partners in Europe and elsewhere.

The comments come as the US has for months been warning that Russia is negotiating to acquire close-range ballistic missiles from Iran in exchange for enhanced military co-operation with Iran.

Mr Kirby said the alliance between Tehran and Moscow would increase the threat posed by Iran-backed militias to US troops and their allies in the Middle East.

President Joe Biden said earlier this week that the US would announce new sanctions against Russia on Friday, in response to the death Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who died in a state prison.

Mr Biden blamed Russia's president Vladimir Putin “and his thugs” for Mr Navalny's death.

Also on Thursday, the Justice Department announced a sweeping set of criminal and civil enforcement actions against sanctioned Russian oligarchs and others accused of working to support Russia and its military.

Updated: February 22, 2024, 8:24 PM