Friday prayer Imams in Iran have defended the government for not opposing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, saying Kyiv was pro-West and not friendly toward Tehran.
Ayatollah Reza Ramezani, a supporter of Ali Khamenei, claimed on Friday Iran has never directly backed Russia's invasion of Ukraine, although Kyiv has always maintained positions against Tehran.”
The cleric who was previously in charge of the Shiite mosque in Hamburg, Germany, charged that "Ukraine's government has always supported the demands of arrogant powers," adding that "we abstained from voting to condemn Russia at the United Nations" for its invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier this week, Russia's ambassador to Tehran Levan Dzhagaryan (Jagaryan) told Iranian reporters to use the term "special military operation", rather than the word "war" or “invasion” about the Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Many Iranian intellectuals and reporters called on the foreign ministry to summon the ambassador and tell him that he is in no position to boss around Iranian reporters.
Reformist figure Mostafa Tajzadeh wrote in a tweet: "Iranians still remember the bitter experience of Saddam Hussain's war and his aggression against Iran as a neighboring country. For this, Iranians condemn the military attack" on Ukraine.
Tehran's Friday prayer Imam Kazem Sediqi also said on Friday that Ukraine gave Iranian leaders a hard time when Iran downed a Ukrainian civilian airliner in January 2020. An IRGC unit fired two missiles at the plane taking off from Tehran killing 176 civilian passengers and crew members.
Trying to justify Iranian leaders' support for Russia's invasion, Ramezani said: "We are against war and violence, but the Islamic Republic needs to adopt positions in the international scene based on rationality.”
Hassan Abbasi, who says Iran's negotiators should demand conversion of Americans to Islam.
In the meantime, according to Etemad Online website, Russia's supporters in Iran have been beating on the drums of conflict. Hassan Abbasi, a zealot fundamentalist commentator has once again on Friday called for turning the White House into a mosque, imposing compulsory hijab on American women, and converting westerners into Islam. Abbasi also said that "The war between East and West can have only one winner, and that will be Iran!"
Also on Friday, as nuclear talks between Iran and world powers stopped because of Russian demands, journalists and commentators as well as other social media users blamed Russia and Iranian leaders' support for Moscow for the deadlock.
Political analyst Jamshid Barzegar wrote on Twitter: "As it was predictable, Iranian leaders refused to resist Russia probably because they were unable to do so. The Vienna talks have been stopped without any result not based on Iran's national interests, but because Moscow wanted the talks to collapse. Iran is suffering because of Putin and its own ruling clerics."
Iranian journalist Milad Alavi also wrote: "The Vienna Talks have been suspended and history will witness that a regime whose motto was neither East, nor West, imposed sanctions on its own people for the sake of Russia's interests."
Ironically, Ramezani the cleric who is a member of the Assembly of Experts, told Iranian reporters in an interview on Friday that the negotiations have reached a good point.
The pause in nuclear talks for the time being puts an end to all hopes of a breakthrough that could relieve Iranians from the backbreaking pressure of sanctions. This comes while even Russian President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged that because of sanctions on Russia's oil, the US is prepared to give countries including Iran and Venezuela special treatment to make sure that they replace Russia in the oil market.
Some Iranian political figures and analysts had also suggested during the past week that Iran should seize the opportunity to mend its ties with the United States and sell its oil at high prices after several years of sanctions on its oil export and international banking.