Recent comments by a Russian official saying that Moscow welcomes more sanctions on Tehran has sparked off reactions from political figures and activists in Iran.

Konstantin Simonov, head of the National Energy Security Center in Moscow, said this week that more sanctions by the West on Tehran will give Russia a very good opportunity to invest largely in Iran’s oil and gas sector.

During a TV program he said Russia’s relations with Iran have been very complicated both during the Soviet and post-Soviet eras.

“We see that Iran has made a serious political choice and as a result it is sanctioned. The European Union is going to impose new sanctions, but I must honestly say that it is good news for us,” said Simonov.

He attested that the sanctions have given a good chance to Russia to invest in oil and gas sector of Iran which is worth over 40 billion dollars.

Ahmad Zeidabadi, a reformist regime insider, criticized the Islamic Reublic’s pro-Russian approach saying that “no one is allowed to criticize Moscow and it seems the country has forgotten its independence in international relations.”

In a TV debate on Friday, Zeidabadi declared it is not in Iran’s national interest to have a strategic relationship with Russia and China, but not with the United States.

Regarding the reported use of Iranian drones in Ukraine by Russia, he asserted that if Iran has not provided the drones, then why its dossier is being sent to the UN Security Council.

Iranian reformist commentator and politician Ahmad Zeidabadi

“As far as I know, Iranians want a balanced relationship with world powers. If you consider someone as an enemy, others will abuse you, like China and Russia. You have involved yourself only with one of the centers of power,” stressed Zeidabadi.

Ex-lawmaker Ali Mottahari had also censured Tehran’s decision to get involved in the Ukraine war stating that, “It is not clear who has decided to involve Iran in the war between Moscow and Kiev. Such a decision must be taken by the parliament.”

Slamming the comments by Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdullahian regarding Iran’s impartiality in Russia-Ukraine conflict, he tweeted on Wednesday saying that “if it is true, why Ukraine claims several have been killed in the attacks launched by the Iranian drones.”

It was on Thursday that Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdullahian rejected claims of Iran supplying Russia with drones to use in Ukraine.

In a telephone conversation with the European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josef Borrell, he claimed Iran is opposed to war and although it has defense cooperation with Russia, it does not send arms. But Tehran’s denials have never been explicit about drones for Russia. It says it opposes the war and does not take sides. Lately, it has said reports about Iranian drones being used in Ukraine are false, but it has never clearly denied supplying them to Russia.

However, the European Union and Britain slapped sanctions on Iranian individuals and a weapons company that they say have supplied Iranian kamikaze drones to Russia to kill Ukrainian civilians and destroy its infrastructure.

On Friday, top British, French and German diplomats urged the UN Secretary General to investigate the Islamic Republic’s transfer of drones to Russia, saying that the move violates a UN Security Council resolution.

The drone issue has compounded problems faced by the Islamic Republic amid negative publicity generated by its brutal reaction to peaceful protests at home.

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