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Iranian Foreign Minister Dismisses UN Concern Over Supply of Drones, Missiles to Russia

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avatar by Ben Cohen

Ukrainian police officers shoot at an Iranian drone in the skies above Kyiv. Photo: Reuters/Vadim Sarakhan

The Iranian regime’s foreign minister has rebuffed ongoing concerns about Tehran’s supply of  Shahed-136 drones and other weaponry to Russia for use in its invasion of Ukraine during a phone conversation with UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told Gutteres on Friday that anxiety in the international community over the Iranian-Russian alliance was really a ruse to camouflage NATO’s “wrong policy of expansion to the east.” He flatly denied that Iran had supplied weapons to Russia after the invasion was launched, describing the accusation as “baseless.” Abdollahian also insisted that Iran was opposed to the supply of weapons to either side in the conflict, saying that the Islamic Republic’s only goal was to “stop the war and promote lasting peace in Europe.”

Abdollahian’s claim that western states have deliberately exaggerated and distorted the degree of Russian-Iranian military cooperation stands in stark contrast to the assessments of American, Ukrainian and Israeli intelligence services.

For example, US officials told the Washington Post that on Aug. 19 — six months after the invasion — transport planes left Iran bound for Russia carrying drones that have been used to deadly effect against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure.

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A Ukrainian assessment on Nov. 7 determined that Russia had exhausted 80 percent of its missile arsenal and was turning to the Iranians for ballistic missiles — an assertion that was also denied by Abdollahian during his conversation with Guterres.

Israel has already indicated that verified evidence of Iranian missiles reaching the Russians would reverse its policy of not arming Ukraine. Speaking at a summit in Bahrain last month, Israeli national security adviser Eyal Hulata warned Moscow that if Iran begins supplying ballistic missiles to the Russians for their ongoing invasion of Ukraine, “Israel will start supplying high-precision missiles to Ukraine.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian leaders have implored the Israelis to supply anti-missile defense systems to the democratic government in Kyiv, arguing that Iran’s intervention on the side of Russia necessitates a change in Jerusalem’s stance.

Abdollahian also addressed the historic anti-regime protests currently raging across Iran in his discussion with the UN Secretary-General, alleging that the US and other western nations were deliberately provoking “riots and assassinations in Iran by using disinformation and intentional abuse of international mechanisms.”

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