Karine Jean-Pierre
Karine Jean-PierrePool/ABACA via Reuters Connect

US officials said on Wednesday that the United States believes Russia may be advising Iran on how to conduct its crackdown against mass protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini following her arrest by morality police.

The White House is "concerned that Moscow may be advising Iran on best practices to manage protests, drawing on... extensive experience in suppressing" opponents, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, as quoted by AFP.

John Kirby, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, was less clear about whether the Kremlin had already ordered such a move.

"They may be considering some sort of support to crack down on Iran's protesters," he was quoted as having said.

"We see signs that they may be considering the ability to train. Sadly Russia has experience," added Kirby.

A wave of unrest has rocked Iran since Amini, 22, died on September 16 after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic's strict dress code for women.

The street violence has led to dozens of deaths, mostly of protesters but also members of the security forces.

Earlier this week, Iran indicted 315 people on charges related to the protests, with four of them being indicted on charges of “war against God”, which can carry a death sentence.

In his remarks on Wednesday, Kirby also reiterated the allegation that Iranian personnel are in Ukraine to help Russian forces use deadly drones in a campaign largely targeting civilian infrastructure.

"They're now on the ground in Crimea to assist that effort," he said.

In July, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US had intelligence indicating that Russia is looking to Iran for UAVs.

A month later, it was reported that Iran had begun training Russians to use its drones, though it was also noted that Russia is experiencing “numerous failures” and technical glitches with the drones it purchased from Iran.

Last week, current and former US officials told The New York Times that Iran has sent trainers to Ukraine to help Russians overcome problems with the fleet of drones that they purchased from Tehran.