Iran slams ‘irresponsible’ rhetoric from Kiev
Ukraine's allegations that Iran is delivering drones to Russia are “irresponsible” and untrue, the Iranian Foreign Ministry has said. Tehran's remarks came in response to accusations by an aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Mikhail Podoliak, who last week claimed that Tehran was “planning to boost missile, drone supplies for Russia.”
In a post on Twitter, the Kiev official urged the international community to move from “nonworking sanctions” against Iran to “more destructive tools – liquidation of plants, arrest of suppliers”.
“Making accusations against various parties, including Iran, won’t help Ukraine, its people and the leadership of the country,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said during a briefing on Monday.
Iran rejects the claims being made by the Ukrainian authorities and “by this Ukrainian official in particular,” he said, referring to Podoliak.
“We consider this threatening rhetoric irresponsible… and place all political and legal responsibility for such statements on the Ukrainian government,” Kanaani insisted.
Tehran is not a party to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but is ready to assist the sides in resolving the crisis in a peaceful manner, he added.
The Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, has also rejected claims by Ukraine and the US that Moscow’s Geran-2 drones are in fact Iranian-made Shahed-136 UAVs. Those statements are “part of the enemy’s psychological warfare,” he claimed in an article on Sunday. According to Baqeri, the very appearance of such accusations shows that the West acknowledges the effectiveness of Iranian UAVs.
In his speech before the US Congress on Wednesday, Zelensky claimed: “Iranian deadly drones sent to Russia in the hundreds became a threat to our critical infrastructure. That is how one terrorist has found the other.”
Podoliak earlier made even harsher statements regarding Iran, insisting that “it could be possible to launch strikes on drones and ballistic missiles manufacturing facilities” in the country. Tehran should not be allowed to keep supplying UAVs to Moscow “with impunity,” he said in a TV interview in early November.
Russia insists that it only relies on locally produced hardware for its military operation in Ukraine, which has been underway since late February. The Iranian Foreign Ministry has only confirmed sending a small batch of drones to Russia before the outbreak of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev.