In a effort to thwart Iran’s influence in the Middle East region and provide support to Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion, the United States government has initiated the transfer of 1.1m seized munitions to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Acquired through civil forfeiture claims against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), this follows the US’s application of sanctions against a network of targets supporting Russia via Iran’s UAV programme.

These munitions, originally confiscated from a stateless dhow named MARWAN 1 by US Central Command naval forces on December 9, 2022, were intended to be shipped from Iran’s IRGC to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, a direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216. The US has had a history of tensions in the US-Iranian conflict as activity has risen in the Gulf of Oman.

The move serves as a response to Iran’s persistent support for armed groups in the Middle East, which has long been a cause for concern due to its threats to international and regional security, US forces, diplomatic personnel, citizens, and allies. 

This strategic operation also reflects the broader goal of the United States to curb Iran’s influence and prevent the proliferation of Iranian lethal aid to various conflict zones. Simultaneously, it contributes to the US’s longstanding commitment to bolster Ukraine’s self-defence capabilities.

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By GlobalData

According to GlobaldData’s “US Defense Market 2022-2027” report, the US is providing numerous weapons and large volumes of military aid to Ukraine, requiring significant funding. Iran is currently supplying Russia with firearms, including loitering munitions used in Ukraine.

As tensions in both the Middle East and Ukraine continue to evolve, this operation underscores the US government’s proactive and strategic stance in safeguarding its allies’ interests while undermining Iran’s actions. 

In GlobalData’s ‘Analyst briefing: Munitions shortage in Ukraine conflict raises questions about the capacity to sustain materiel production in high-intensity warfare’ Tristan Sauer highlights the importance of munition supply in the Ukranian-Russian war.

“Since the outbreak of the first high-intensity conflict on the European subcontinent since WWII, one of the key strategic takeaways has been the fundamental failure of the global defence industry to meet the requisite level of production for munitions of all types.”

This development aligns with recent US sanctions on a multinational network involved in Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and military aircraft industry, spanning four countries and comprising 11 individuals and entities. These sanctions directly respond to Iran’s support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, particularly the supply of weapons, including loitering munitions, from Iran to Russia.