Russia's ambassador in Iran has said in an interview that Moscow will continue its "special military operation" in Ukraine until its objectives are attained.
Levan Dzhagaryan (Jegaryan), whose official title is "Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation" has served in Tehran for over 10 years and speaks an arguably good Persian. His interview with Etemad daily published on Wednesday, March 16, hinged around the war in Ukraine and the Iran’s nuclear negotiations in Vienna.
The ambassador's interview coincided with the publication of remarks by an outspoken Iranian politician and the daughter of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Faezeh Hashemi, who has criticized Tehran for submitting to Russia and China's colonial desires.
Dzhagaryan insisted that "Russia has not attacked Ukraine," adding that "This is a special military operation." He had told Iranian reporters in a news conference last week not to use the word “war” in relation to Ukraine. Several Iranian politicians and hundreds of social media users criticized him at the time for trying to boss around Iranian media.
Faezeh Hashemi also criticized Iranian officials for behaving according to the Russian ambassador's wishes. Also mentioning Russia’s last-minute demands in the Vienna nuclear talks, Hashemi said: "Russia and China see Iran as their colony and agent. For how long we want to surrender to their blackmailing only because we wish to look anti-Western and because our own people do not support us?" she asked. She observed that "In Russia's attack on Ukraine, Iranian officials stood by Russia without condemning the war."
Hashemi criticized Iranian officials for blaming the United States for the invasion rather than questioning Putin's action. "And the Russian ambassador threatens Iranian journalists and tells them what to write." She suggested that the Iranian foreign ministry should have summoned the ambassador and pointed out his mistake.
When he was asked about violating Ukrain's territorial integrity, the Russian ambassador reminded the West's attack on Iraq in 2003 and asked whether the West had sought the Security Council's consent.
Dzhagaryan in his interview claimed that if Russia did not attack Ukraine, that country would have attacked Russia. Meanwhile, when he was told about the United Nations figures on civilian casualties, he said that Russia does not trust the UN and believes that it is not impartial. "We have also criticized UN Chief Guterres. They are the followers of the West," he maintained.
Meanwhile, he claimed that as Vladimir Putin has said, Ukraine is not a real country. It is a country that has been fabricated by Vladimir Lenin.
The ambassador further stressed: "We are not afraid of anyone. We are a nuclear power and we will continue our military operation until we attain our goals.
Speaking about the nuclear issue, the ambassador said Russia cooperates with Iran in three areas related to Tehran’s nuclear activities and the JCPOA, saying the United States has guaranteed that Russia and Iran may cooperate in those areas.
Dzhagaryan reiterated that no one can stop Iran from holding direct talks with the United States. At the same time, he said that the JCPOA should also serve Russia's interests. He also claimed that Russia has always defended Iran before and after the 2015 nuclear agreement. This comes while Russia never vetoed any UN sanction against Iran's nuclear program.
Meanwhile, he said Iran's former nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi has confessed that Iran owes a large amount of money to Russia.
In an interesting part of the interview, the Russian ambassador categorically denied that Russia ever invaded Afghanistan in the 1980s. "We went there to help," he claimed! And about Ukraine, when he was asked if any country with a historical territorial claim can violate the territorial integrity of a UN member state, he said: "It depends!" adding that "As far as Russia is concerned, we had no other solution."