US pushes Iran to stop selling Russia drones amid de-escalation talks
PHOTO CAPTION: A Russian drone is seen during a Russian drone strike, which local authorities consider to be Iranian made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) Shahed-136, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine October 17, 2022. REUTERS/Roman Petushkov/File Photo
ILLUSTRATION CAPTION: An image shows Iranian drone transfer to Russia, as evidence of new Russian-Iran cooperation, in this handout acquired June 9, 2023. White House/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
(Reuters) - U.S. is pushing Iran to stop selling armed drones to Russia as part of discussions on a broader unwritten understanding between Washington and Tehran to de-escalate tensions, the Financial Times said on Wednesday, citing people briefed on the matter.
The U.S. is pressing Iran to stop selling armed drones to Russia, which Moscow is using in the war in Ukraine, as well as spare parts for the unmanned aircraft, the report said, citing an Iranian official and another person familiar with the talks.
The White House and Iran's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
The news comes as Washington and Iran are trying to ease tensions and revive broader talks over Iran's nuclear program. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that he would welcome any Iranian steps to de-escalate its "growing nuclear threat."
These discussions have taken place alongside the negotiations on a prisoner exchange deal last week, the newspaper said. Iran allowed four detained U.S. citizens to move into house arrest from Tehran's Evin prison while a fifth was already under home confinement.
Last week, sources told Reuters that Iran may free five detained U.S. citizens as part of a deal to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian funds in South Korea.
(Reporting by Lavanya Ahire in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Kim Coghill)