Iran says sent UAVs to Russia but before Ukraine war
The Iranian Foreign Ministry, denying that it gave Russia drones during the Ukraine war, says it provided Moscow with UAVs before the war started.
Tehran gave a small batch of drones to Russia, but it was before the Ukraine war broke out, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Saturday.
Ukraine and its western allies have long been accusing Iran of supplying drones to Russia in the midst of the war. However, Tehran's latest statements once again struck down the allegations as false, proving that the Iranian drones seen in Ukraine's airspace were not provided to Moscow as the war was ongoing.
"We supplied Russia with a limited number of drones months before the war in Ukraine," the official Iranian news agency IRNA quoted Amir-Abdollahian as saying.
The top Iranian diplomat went on to remind how Tehran requested that Kiev provide it with proof and documentation of Moscow's use of Iranian UAVs.
"In a telephone conversation with the Ukrainian foreign minister last week, we agreed that if there was evidence (of Moscow's use of Iranian drones), he would provide it to us," Amir-Abdollahian said.
"If the Ukrainian side keeps its promise, we can discuss this issue in the coming days and we will take into account their evidence," he added.
Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Minister completely dismissed the allegations raised against Tehran alleging that it had supplied missiles to Russia, saying the accusations were "completely false".
Commenting on the statements of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani stressed that "the Ukrainian Foreign Minister's baseless accusations against Iran do not help resolve the war crisis."
Tehran advises Ukraine to be realistic in terms of allegations that Iranian drones are used in the Ukraine war, Kanaani added.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said during an online briefing a couple of weeks ago that he submitted a proposal to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to formally break off diplomatic ties with Tehran.
During the briefing, Kuleba accused Iran of having supplied weapons to Russia despite having no evidence to support his claims.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky went as far as claiming that Russia was deploying almost 2,500 attack drones purchased from Iran.
Reportedly, Russia is chiefly using the Shahed-136/Geran-2 type kamikaze drone against Ukraine, with many reports surfacing about the matter over the past few weeks.
The fear the drones are inflicting on the Ukrainians has pushed Kiev to further seek air defense systems from its Western allies.
The usage of drones has prompted Ukraine's allies to come together in various ways to try and help Kiev, with Turkey and the United States sending in drones and the Israeli occupation providing Kiev with intelligence on the Iranian drones being used in Ukraine.
'Russia-Iran drone axis' a power to be reckoned with: Israeli media
In parallel to reports about the matter, an Israeli West Asia affairs analyst Seth Frantzman wrote in The Jerusalem Post that Russia is increasingly using Iranian drones in Ukraine, which is a threat that "must be taken seriously" in the international arena, not only in the countries' respective regions.
According to Frantzman, Iran has been exporting either pieces or blueprints of drones to its regional allies, such as Ansar Allah in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in occupied Palestine. What is notable, however, is that the UAVs are now much more sophisticated than they used to be, with longer ranges and higher precision.
The main point of concern for the Israeli analyst is the fact that Iran is growing to be a lot bigger than its own sphere of influence within West Asia, extending to Europe, namely Russia.
Russia's usage of loitering munition drones developed by Iran against Ukraine is showing the might of the Iranian UAV capabilities.