Iran recently acknowledged for the first time that it supplied Russia with drones. Still, it insisted it provided them before the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine since Iranian-made drones have been seen divebombing across Kyiv, the capital city.
Hossein Amirabdollahian, Iranian Foreign Minister, Comments come after Russia has repeatedly attacked civilian targets and Ukrainian energy infrastructure amid months of confusing messaging from Iran about weapons shipments.
“We have a limited number of drones to Russia months before the Ukraine war,” said Amirabdollahian to reporters after a meeting.
Iranian officials had previously denied supplying arms to Russia for use in its war against Ukraine. Earlier in the week, Amir Saeid Iravani, Iran’s Ambassador to the U.N., called such allegations “totally unfounded” and maintained Iran’s neutral position in the war. Western allies and the United States on the Security Council have called on U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to investigate whether Russia has used Iranian drones in attacks against Ukrainian civilians.
However, Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard has made veiled boasts of providing drones to the supreme powers in the world. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has continued to praise the effectiveness of the drones and mocked Western nations for their concern over the danger. During a recent state-backed demonstration marking the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover, crowds waved plaques showing triangle-shaped drones to show national pride.
Leader acknowledges shipment, says Iran was ‘oblivious’ of the use of drones
While Amirabdollahian acknowledged the shipment, he claimed that Iran was oblivious to the use of the supplied drones in Ukraine while emphasizing Iran remains committed to putting an end to the conflict.
“If (Ukraine) has any documents in their possession that Russia used Iranian drones in Ukraine, they should provide them to us. If it is proven to us that Russia used Iranian drones in the war against Ukraine, we will not be indifferent to this issue,” said Amirabdollahian.
Ukrainian officials say the drones have become a crucial part of Moscow’s arsenal. In a recent nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Iranian officials of “lying” by making their admission and claimed it doesn’t expose the full extent of Iran’s involvement in the conflict.
“We shoot down at least ten Iranian drones every day, yet the Iranian regime claims that it supplied Russia with only a small number of them, and those before the start of the full-scale invasion,” said Zelenskyy. “Only during one day yesterday, 11 Shahid drones were destroyed.”
Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine’s Defense Minister, added that Iranian drones are used regularly to target civilian locations. He also said weapons from Iran play a critical role in Russia’s attacks on electrical infrastructure and power plants around his country. The state electricity operator of Ukraine has advised residents to be prepared for regular blackouts in Kyiv and other regions due to the continuing barrage of missile and drone strikes.