November 1, 2022 | Flash Brief

Iran May Provide Russia with Short-Range Ballistic Missiles

November 1, 2022 | Flash Brief

Iran May Provide Russia with Short-Range Ballistic Missiles

Latest Developments

Iran reportedly may soon provide Russia with short-range ballistic missiles in addition to armed drones for use against Ukraine. The revelation of Iran’s potential missile transfers comes amid growing controversy over whether the U.S. and its allies should formally withdraw all offers of sanctions relief for the regime in Tehran and complete the snapback of United Nations sanctions as provided under UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231. Without completing the UN snapback, the international arms embargo on Iran will remain expired and UN restrictions on missile transfers will expire next October. The proposed nuclear deal with Iran, which remains on the table for Tehran’s acceptance, would lift sanctions on sectors of Iran’s economy tied to its missile program.

Expert Analysis

“With reports that Iran plans to send short-range ballistic missiles to Russia to use against Ukraine — and as the people of Iran cry out in the streets for a change in regime — the U.S. and its European allies should withdraw all sanctions relief offers made to Tehran and complete the snapback of UN sanctions at the Security Council.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Reported Iranian Missile Transfers to Russia

According to Iranian and U.S.-allied officials, Tehran will soon provide Russia with Fateh-110 and Zulfiqar short-range ballistic missiles — among the most precise in Iran’s ballistic missile arsenal, which is the largest in the Middle East. The Fateh-110 has a reported range of 250 to 300 kilometers (or roughly 150 to 190 miles), whereas the Zulfiqar has a reported 700-kilometer (435-mile) range.

Missile Sanctions Relief Under the Proposed Nuclear Deal

According to leaked details of the nuclear deal offered by the United States to Iran, Washington would immediately rescind executive orders imposing sanctions on Iran’s automotive, construction, mining, industrial metals, and petrochemical sectors. In later stages of the deal’s implementation, sanctions would be lifted on Iran’s energy sector as well. Tehran’s development of ballistic missiles relies on all these sectors for procurement and expertise. Providing these sectors sanctions relief of any form would benefit Iran’s missile programs.

Completing Snapback Pursuant to UNSCR 2231

The United Kingdom, France, and Germany initiated the “dispute resolution mechanism” under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in January 2020 but never completed the snapback process at the UN Security Council. At any time, any original participant in the 2015 deal can send a letter to the Security Council alleging that Iran is in significant non-performance of its commitment under the deal, triggering a 30-day clock until all prior UN Security Council resolutions return to force. The Trump administration attempted a unilateral snapback at the Security Council in August 2020, citing U.S. rights under the UNSCR 2231, but other members of the council opposed the move. The Biden administration withdrew the U.S. snapback notification in early 2021.

Related Analysis

Iran Is Now at War With Ukraine,” By John Hardie and Behnam Ben Taleblu

Biden, Congress Should Defend Missile Sanctions Imposed on Iran,” By Richard Goldberg, Matthew Zweig, Behnam Ben Taleblu, and Saeed Ghasseminejad

Europe must trigger snapback of UN sanctions on Iran,” By Anthony Ruggiero and Andrea Stricker


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Missiles Iran Sanctions Iran-backed Terrorism Russia Sanctions and Illicit Finance