The Islamic Republic has at last admitted it has provided drones to Russia claiming that they were sent to Russia months before the Ukrainian war.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Saturday Tehran provided Moscow with a limited number of drones months before the war in Ukraine, but if it is proven that Russia has used them in the war against Ukraine, the Islamic Republic will not be indifferent to it.
Previously, he had said, "Iran has not provided any weapons to Russia for the war in Ukraine," implying that some arms were transferred, without referring to drones.
Amir-Abdollahian’s statement admitting supplying drones to Moscow came as Europe joined the United States on condemning Iran’s support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The G7 foreign ministers meeting in Germany this week issued a statement demanding that Iran and Russia to be held accountable for “balatant violations” of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The US, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom – G7 members along with Canada, Italy and Japan – have argued that any Iranian supply of military drones to Russia is a breach of the agreement, the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).
Iran’s supply of military hardware and reportedly technicians to help in their deployment to battle fields has further put in doubt further negotiations to restore the JCPOA. After 18 months of multilateral talks, the diplomatic effort reached an impasse in August, with the US saying that Iran was presenting demands outside the scope of the 2015 deal.
Washington has pledged more sanctions related to Tehran supplying weapons to Russia as fierce popular protests have rocked Iran since mid-September, further plunging its weakened economy into crisis.
On the sidelines of a meeting in Tehran, Iran’s top diplomat also rejected supplying missiles to Russia saying, “we agreed with the foreign minister of Ukraine that if they have any documents on Russia’s use of Iranian drones in Ukraine, they should provide them to us.”
He further added that Iran’s position regarding the war in Ukraine “is to stop the war, return the parties to negotiations and return the refugees to their homeland.”
Ukraine has reported a spate of Russian attacks using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in recent weeks. Iran was so far denying supplying the drones to Russia, and this week, Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Amir Saeid Iravani rejected the accusations saying they are “totally baseless”.
Amir-Abdollahian’s comments come after the United States and its allies urged the UN to probe if Moscow has used Iran-made drones to attack Ukrainian infrastructure and civilian targets.
Ukraine’s Intelligence Directorate said Tuesday that the Islamic Republic is going to deploy over 200 combat drones to Russia in early November including Shahed-136, Arash-2 kamikaze drones, and Mohajer-6 reconnaissance and combat UAVs.
CNN also reported on Tuesday that Western officials believe Tehran was preparing to send nearly 1,000 additional weapons, including ballistic missiles and