Blinken tells president US concerned by West Bank violence

Herzog says will present US officials with evidence of Iranian drone use in Ukraine

Visiting Washington ahead of White House meeting with Biden, president stresses that ‘Iranian weapons play a central role in global destabilization’

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, left, meets with Israel's President Isaac Herzog in Washington, October 25, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, left, meets with Israel's President Isaac Herzog in Washington, October 25, 2022. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

WASHINGTON — President Isaac Herzog will present evidence to US officials during a meeting in Washington on Wednesday which shows Iranian drones being used by Russia in combat in Ukraine.

Herzog touched down in Washington on Tuesday for a brief visit that will include a meeting with US President Joe Biden on Wednesday. Before his departure, Herzog said that the most pressing topic on the agenda will be “the Iranian threat, which is destabilizing not only the Middle East but the entire world.”

Herzog’s office said Tuesday that the president will share photo evidence showing Russia utilizing advanced Iranian drones in its attacks on Ukraine.

Over the past weeks, Western powers have repeatedly accused Russia of using Iranian drones to attack civilians and power plants in Ukraine, a charge that both Moscow and Tehran have denied.

The president’s office said Tuesday that Israeli security officials have employed visual analysis to determine that fragments of drones used in Ukraine are identical to those developed in Iran.

The statement claimed that “despite Iran’s denials and attempt to obscure their Iranian origins by adding Russian writing,” it is clear parts of the drones “are identical” to the Iranian ones.

Iranian-made UAV engines presented at an expo in Iran in October 2014, in an image Israel will present to US officials in Washington on October 26, 2022. (President’s Office)

The photos Herzog is expected to share with US officials show the Iranian Shahed-136 drone model being launched during a drill in Iran in December 2021, and the same aircraft downed during fighting in Ukraine.

The photo evidence shows that the drones in Ukraine have many of the same features including their structure, dimensions and numbering, his office said.

“Once again Iran proves it cannot be trusted and that in every region where there is killing, suffering and hate — Iran is there,” Herzog said in a statement.

“Iranian weapons play a central role in global destabilization, and the international community must learn its lesson, now and in the future.”

Herzog added that “in recent months, the Iranian regime has shown the world its true colors, which Israel has known for years. Nobody can ignore that the Iranian regime uses violence against its own citizens and is brutally suppressing the hijab protests with blatant human rights violations.”

The statement from Herzog did not specify which US officials would be presented with the purported photo evidence.

Herzog met with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken who said Iranian drones were causing “horrific” effects in Ukraine.

“We are standing together against the dangerous, destabilizing and terrorizing actions that Iran is taking in the region and well beyond the region,” Blinken said.

“The provision of drones by Iran to Russia to enable its further aggression against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people is showing horrific results on the ground in Ukraine and it’s something we are determined to stand against,” he said.

A photo of a fragment of an Iranian drone shot down in Ukraine that Israel will present to US officials during meetings on October 26, 2022. (President’s office)

Blinken also highlighted “the real concern that we have about the violence that we’re seeing in the West Bank and we are urging everyone to take the necessary steps to try to deescalate that violence and to avoid actions or statements that may incite it.”

At their meeting, Herzog said he “will be exposing more of the fact that Iranian weapons are being used against civilians in Ukraine.”

President Isaac Herzog (R) meets with US energy envoy Amos Hochstein in Washington, October 25, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Shortly after arriving in Washington on Tuesday, Herzog met with US energy envoy Amos Hochstein, the official who was the key broker in the maritime border talks between Lebanon and Israel.

The deal is expected to be signed on Thursday in Lebanon with Israeli and Lebanese officials in separate rooms and Hochstein on hand.

At his meeting with Blinken, Herzog thanked the US for supporting the Lebanon border deal.

Later Tuesday, Herzog was expected to meet with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

On Wednesday, he is scheduled to sit down with Biden at the White House following a meeting with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

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