UN has no mandate to probe alleged use of Iran drones: Russia
Russia's Ambassador to the UN expresses Moscow's concerns regarding attempts of certain states to instruct the UN Secretariat to investigate Russia’s alleged use of Iranian drones.
Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, told UN chief Antonio Guterres on Friday that the UN Secretariat has no mandate to investigate Russia’s alleged use of Iranian drones in the Ukraine war.
"We would like to express our most serious concerns regarding the attempts of certain Member States to give instructions to the UN Secretariat in violation of Article 100 of the United Nations Charter, as manifested in the letter from the Permanent Representatives of France, Germany and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations dated 21 October 2022, as well as the statements of some Secretariat officials about their intention to accept these instructions," Nebenzia's letter read.
It also pointed out that no mandate has ever been given to the UN Secretariat by the Security Council for any "investigation" in the context of UNSC resolution 2231 on the Iran nuclear issue.
Russia expects UN will not probe allegations of Iranian drones In Ukraine: Nebenzia
The Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia also said on Friday that Russia is awaiting confirmation from the UN Secretariat that it will not launch an investigation into allegations that Iranian drones are being used in Ukraine.
"We expect that the Secretariat will provide us with its definitive confirmation that they do not intend to follow the instructions of western countries in violation of the Charter and will not conduct an investigation," Nebenzia said.
"If experts of the UN ... nonetheless start conducting a pseudo investigation baselessly referring to Resolution 2231, we can reconsider the entire package of our relationship with the UN Secretariat, because in this case it will not be possible to call it impartial," he added.
Zakharova: Allegations that Iran supplies drones to Russia groundless
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova slammed the allegations that Iran has been supplying drones to Russia as "a set of groundless speculations."
Zakharova said that "the rumors about [deliveries of] Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles being spread by some independent, unnamed and closed sources in the American media have been refuted in recent days by both Iranian and Russian officials."
"Is it necessary to comment on those allegations against us and Tehran? I don’t think so, because they are nothing but a set of groundless speculations <…> and far-fetched assumptions that Britain and France are trying to construct, and they have fallen to pieces in front of everyone again and again," the Russian spokesperson considered.
Pointing to a recent statement by a deputy spokesperson for the US Department of State that claimed Iran has been supplying drones to Russia, Zakharova pointed out that "the hardest thing is to prove an axiom because an axiom is something that doesn’t need to be proved. And yet we are living in a world where we seem to have to do so time and again."
EU, UK sanction 3 Iranians, 1 entity over drones claims, Iran responds
This comes as the European Union imposed on Thursday fresh sanctions against three Iranian individuals and one entity over claims of developing and delivering Iranian drones to Russia to use against Ukraine.
The EU added to its sanctions blacklist Iranian drone maker Shahed Aviation Industries, the current chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces Major General Mohammed Hossein Bagheri, logistics officer General Sayed Hojatollah Qureishi, and the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps drone program Brigadier General Saeed Aghajani.
The UK also announced that it enforced sanctions on the same three Iranian military figures and a defense manufacturer over the same claims.
Similarly, the US State Department said in a statement that it is committed to imposing sanctions to prevent Iran from allegedly delivering "dangerous weaponry" to Russia.
"We are committed to working with allies and partners to prevent the transfer of dangerous weaponry to Russia. We will not hesitate to use our sanctions and other appropriate tools on all involved in these transfers," the State Department said.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister welcomes sanctions against Iran
On his part, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the announcement of EU sanctions.
On Twitter, he posted: "I welcome the EU’s prompt action following my appeal on Monday to impose sanctions on Iran for helping Russia kill Ukrainians and damage our energy infrastructure."
I welcome the EU’s prompt action following my appeal on Monday to impose sanctions on Iran for helping Russia kill Ukrainians and damage our energy infrastructure. In three days, the EU agreed on a set of restrictions which will take effect as soon as today.— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) October 20, 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed on Wednesday that 233 Iranian Shahed UAVs have been destroyed by Ukrainian air defenses over the past 10 days, while Ukrainian Energy Minister, Herman Halushchenko, claimed Thursday that Russia has carried out about 300 strikes on Ukraine's energy system over the past 10 days.
Supplying weapons to Russia against Ukraine baseless claim: Iran FM
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian posted Thursday on Twitter that he reminded EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell in a phone conversation that "our clear policy is to oppose the war and its escalation in Ukraine."
امروز در تماس تلفنی بورل بوی یادآور شدم که سیاست روشن ما مخالفت با جنگ و تشدید آن در اوکراین هست. ادعای ارسال موشک ایرانی به روسیه برای کاربرد علیه اوکراین یک ادعای بی اساس است. ما با روسیه همکاری دفاعی داریم اما ارسال سلاح و پهپاد علیه اوکراین سیاست ما نیست.— H.Amirabdollahian امیرعبداللهیان (@Amirabdolahian) October 20, 2022
"The claim of sending Iranian missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine is a baseless claim. We have defense cooperation with Russia but delivering weapons and drones against Ukraine is not our policy," Amir-Abdollahian stressed.
Iran requests proof of Russia using Iranian UAVs in Ukraine from Kiev
On Wednesday, Tehran requested documents from Kiev documenting and proving Russia's usage of Iranian drones in Ukraine as part of the ongoing war, the top Iranian diplomat confirmed.
In the same context, Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations, Amir Saeed Iravani, rejected "unfounded and unsubstantiated” claims that Tehran has supplied Moscow with UAVs for use in the war in Ukraine.
Similarly, Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said the drones used in Ukraine were Russian-made, noting that images of the drones downed clearly show Russian inscriptions on them.
Read more: First drones, now personnel: US unfounded claims against Iran continue