Two former Iranian presidents have condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine despite to government’s position of tacitly supporting Moscow and blaming the West.
In a message published Thursday Khatami described Russia’s intervention as “an invasion of a free territory by a foreign power.”
Khatami, reformist president from 1997 to 2005, said that “regardless of the causes of this unfortunate situation… what is happening in Ukraine is…the repression of a nation that has shown, especially in these days, that it wants to live freely and independently.”
Before him, another former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had praised Ukraine’s “unrivalled resistance” and rebuked Iran’s leadership, since Iran − like China, India, and the United Arab Emirates − has abstained in United Nations votes condemning the Russian invasion.
Addressing the “great nation of Ukraine” and its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ahmadinejad said, “Your honorable and almost unrivalled resistance uncovered the Satanic plots of enemies of mankind.” Ahmadinejad, ‘principlist’ president from 2005 until 2013, tweeted: “Trust that the great nation of Iran is standing by you, while admiring this heroic persistence.”
A lively debate about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues in Iran, with divisions reflecting wider disagreements among various factions over foreign policy. While reformists have been more critical of Russia, and many Iranians have condemned Russia, supporters of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have been sympathetic to Russia’s position and accused the US and NATO for provoking Russia.