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November 8, 2022 5:34 am

‘If It Wasn’t for Iran, We’d Be Closer to Peace’: Ukrainian President Zelensky Slams Islamic Republic in Speech

avatar by Ben Cohen

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky visits a position of Ukrainian service members, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Soledar, Donetsk region. Photo: Reuters/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has issued a blistering attack on Iran’s rulers, accusing them of prolonging the global economic and security crisis triggered by the Russian invasion of his country.

“If it were not for the Iranian supply of weapons to the aggressor, we would be closer to peace now,” Zelensky stated in a national broadcast on Sunday night. “And this means closer to a complete solution to the food crisis. Closer to solving the cost of living crisis. The energy market is closer to stabilization.”

Zelensky emphasized that “the whole world will know that the Iranian regime is helping Russia to prolong this war, and therefore to prolong the effect of those threats to the world, which were provoked precisely by the Russian war.” He warned that Russia was determined to increase its attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, which have left millions of people without power or water, asserting that “for this [purpose], Russia needs Iranian missiles.”

According to Ukrainian intelligence sources, Russia has purchased more than 2,000 drones from Iran, mainly the Shahed-136, which have been used to devastating effect against Ukrainian population centers in recent weeks. Last weekend, Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, admitted that Iran had furnished its Russian ally with drones, but insisted these had been delivered prior to the invasion in February — a claim rejected by Ukrainian and international leaders, among them the US Special Envoy to Iran Robert Malley, who tweeted in response: “Iran didn’t give a limited number of drones before the war. They transferred dozens just this summer & have military personnel in occupied Ukraine helping Russia use them against Ukrainian civilians. Confronted with evidence, they need a new policy, not a new story.”

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On Tuesday, meanwhile, Ukraine’s senior official for relations with the Middle East and Africa disclosed that the democratic government in Kyiv is likely to break diplomatic ties with the Iranian regime.

“We are determined to respond decisively and seriously to Iran’s supply of drones to the Russian army, because it is about our national security, about the participation of a third country on the side of Russia in the aggression against Ukraine,” Maksym Subkh — Ukraine’s special representative for the Middle East and Africa — told the ZN news agency.

Subkh added that “breaking diplomatic relations with Iran is on the agenda. The Iranian side has been officially informed about this, and it is trying in every possible way to avoid this from happening. The final decision on whether or not to break off diplomatic relations will be made by the president in the coming weeks.”

Zelensky’s condemnation of Iran coincided with his appeal for closer ties with Israel. Kyiv has been imploring the Israeli government to supply military assistance for several months — a demand that has been given added urgency with the revelations of Iranian involvement on the Russian side of the conflict.

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