What Happened: During a meeting with the U.S. and Israeli national security advisers in Jerusalem on June 25, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said Russia has intelligence that the U.S. drone shot down by Iran was in Iranian airspace, a point Iran has argued and the United States has denied, Haaretz reported. U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, meanwhile, emphasized that Iran should not interpret U.S. restraint in its response to the drone's downing as a sign of weakness.
Why It Matters: Patrushev's statement is another notable display of Russian diplomatic support for Iran amid growing U.S. efforts to isolate the Islamic republic. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said June 24 that Russia would take steps to counter any new sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran, and a Russian official has now sought to rebut the evidence given by the United States to make the case for more sanctions.
Background/Context: Moscow will try to use Washington's heightened concern with Tehran to push for concessions from the United States in other areas, such as sanctions, Ukraine and arms control. In doing so, Moscow could strategically increase its support for Iran in the coming weeks in an effort to gain more leverage for use against Washington in negotiations.