Iran has once again denied its military involvement in the Russian invasion of Ukraine saying that Tehran is not taking sides in the conflict.
The Islamic Republic’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman claimed Monday that relations between Iran and Russia are not against any party and do not violate the international legal framework.
Naser Kanani told a news conference that “those who accuse Iran of supporting one side of the war are sending weapons to a warring side themselves,” implicitly referring to large Western military assistance to Ukraine.
Ukraine, the United States and Western countries say Iran has supplied military drones to Russia that are being used to attack civilian and infrastructure targets, and have begun imposing sanctions on Tehran.
Kanaani also rejected accusations that Iran has sent forces to Russian-occupied Crimea saying that “this is a media war to distract minds from the destructive role of Westerners in the Ukraine war.”
The US had earlier said that Iranian experts were in Crimea helping the Russians use Iranian supplied drones.
His comments come as Iran’s Supreme Leader in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin back in July clearly expressed support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
While describing war as “brutal and hard,” Iran’s leader suggested that had Russia not “taken the initiative, the other side, with its own initiative would have created a war anyway.”
In that meeting Khamenei said “NATO is a dangerous creature [that] didn’t recognize any limits or borders. If you cannot stand up to them in Ukraine, then a little while later, with the excuse of Crimea, they would have started this war anyway.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Kanani accused US officials of “telling lies and being hypocritical” regarding the talks over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.
“If the Americans say the negotiations have stopped, why do they send messages through intermediaries?” reiterated Kanani, adding that “it is clear Washington wants to return to the agreement but not pay its costs.”
His allegations come as US State Department spokesperson, Ned Price, on October 19 said reviving the 2015 nuclear deal is “not our focus right now.”
“Nothing we’ve heard in recent weeks suggests they have changed their position. And so right now our focus is on the remarkable bravery and courage that the Iranian people are exhibiting through their peaceful demonstrations,” he stated.
During his Monday statements, the Iranian spokesperson also claimed that the West is supporting anti-regime protests in Iran saying, “If Americans have bet on the domestic developments of Iran these days, they have made a mistake.”
Tehran routinely blames the West and Israel for negative events in Iran, not willing to admit that many of its citizens oppose clerical rule.
He also criticized recent sanctions by the European Union and the United Kingdom imposed for the brutal crackdown on protesters in Iran, stating that “supporting disorder, insecurity and instability is an illegal behavior. It is an irresponsible act to support rioters and those who have a history of terrorist activities.”
This comes as the Islamic Republic is designated by the US as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984 for supporting and organizing militant groups around the region.
In another part of his comments, Kanani claimed that relations between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are on the right track and the sides are having “constructive ties.”
However, Wall Street Journal correspondent Laurence Norman says there has been zero significant contact between Iran and the IAEA recently calling the claims “a heap of falsehoods”.