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Iran-backed militias smuggling weapons to Russia: ‘Whatever is anti-US makes us happy’

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Iran nuclear weapons program

According to a report from the Guardian, Iranian-backed militias in Iraq are helping to arm Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. The militias are smuggling weapons into Russia, according to the report.

The report cited members of the Iranian-backed militias as well as regional intelligence services familiar with the matter. RPGs, anti-tank missiles, and Brazilian-designed rocket launcher systems are among the weapons being smuggled.

Iranian authorities also donated one of their Bavar 373 missile systems, a source who helped organize the transfer told the Guardian. “RPGs and anti-tank missiles belonging to the Hashd al-Shaabi Shia militia group were transported from Iraq to Iran on March 26 where they were collected by Russian authorities who then shipped them to Russia by sea, a commander of the militia branch that controls the crossing told the British daily.”

Hashd al-Shaabi also dismantled Brazilian-designed Astros II rocket launcher systems on April 1 for shipment to Russian forces. “We don’t care where the heavy weapons go [because we don’t need them at the moment],” one Hashd al-Shaabi source told The Guardian. “Whatever is anti-US makes us happy.”

Times of Israel reports:

The reported weapons transfers represent the latest progression in Russia’s relations with Iran as Moscow finds itself increasingly isolated and struggling to keep up on the battlefield as Western sanctions continue to pile up.

The smugglings also risk hampering US support for the Iraqi government and army, which have hosted American troops since 2003.

US officials said that Russia has also been leaning on China to send its own military aid for use in the Ukraine invasion, according to The Guardian.

Ukraine has also accused Georgia of helping Russia receive sanctioned military equipment.

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Middle East

White House admits Iran ‘few weeks or less’ from nuclear breakout; quickly blame Trump

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Iran nuclear weapons program

Naturally, the Biden Administration quickly attempted to blame former President Trump for Iran’s most recent nuclear development. It’s not surprising the White House made a desperate attempt to deflect, as Press Secretary Jen Psaki was forced to admit Iran’s “breakout period” for a nuclear weapon “is down from about a year…to just a few weeks or less.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed Iran’s “breakout” time was “down to a matter of weeks.” The Times of Israel notes that the breakout period refers to the amount of time “it will take Iran to amass enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, if its chooses to do so.”

The Times of Israel notes that a distinction must be made: “having enough nuclear material for a bomb is not he same as having the capabilities to build the core of the weapon and to attach it to the warhead of a missile, which would likely take more time.”

Psaki told reporters at Tuesday’s press conference that Iran’s nuclear development “definitely worries us.”

“If we go back, under the Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s nuclear program was tightly constrained,” she said. “Since the Trump administration ceased US participation in the deal, Iran has rapidly accelerated its nuclear program.”

“That is a direct impact of pulling out of the nuclear deal, making us less safe, giving us less visibility, and it’s one of the reasons we pursued a diplomatic path again,” Psaki said.

Psaki’s comments are laughable, considering Iran has never given any proof of abiding by any deal. The 2015 nuclear deal gave Iran sanctions relief in exchange for guarantees it would not develop a nuclear weapon.

As the Times of Israel writes, curbing its nuclear weapons development is something Iran “has always denied wanting to do.” In 2018, knowing full well that Iran had zero intention of abiding by the deal, President Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord and reimposed sanctions against Iran.

Ever since Biden took office, one of the first things his administration did was begin negotiations with Iran via intermediaries in Vienna. The talks have gone nowhere.

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