China and Russia are in advanced secret talks with Iran to replenish the Islamic Republic’s supply of a key chemical compound used to propel ballistic missiles, diplomats familiar with the matter say, a move that would mark a clear violation of United Nations sanctions and possibly help Moscow replenish its depleted stock of rockets.
Tehran has held concurrent negotiations with officials and government-controlled entities from both countries, including the state-owned Russian chemical maker FKP Anozit, to acquire large amounts of ammonium perchlorate, or AP, the main ingredient in solid propellants used to power missiles, said the diplomats, who requested anonymity in order to discuss confidential information.
In Beijing, Iranian diplomat Sajjad Ahadzadeh, who serves as Tehran’s “technology counselor” in China and the broader region has led the talks to acquire AP, according to the diplomats familiar with the matter. The diplomats said they didn’t know which Chinese companies were involved, however.
The exact quantity of AP Iran is seeking to purchase isn’t clear, but the diplomats familiar with its plans estimate it would be sufficient to build thousands of rockets, including the Zolfaghar missile, which has a range of 700 kilometers and has been used by both Iran and its proxies in the Middle East in recent years. If the deal goes through, some of those rockets could end up being deployed against Ukraine, the diplomats said.