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Iran denies providing Russia with drones for attacks against Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Kremlin/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Iran has once again rejected allegations that it has supplied Russia with weapons to be used in the war in Ukraine, its Foreign Ministry said on October 15.

Kyiv and Washington have accused Tehran of supplying drones to Russia to use in its unprovoked war against its neighbor. The topic is expected to be discussed by European Union foreign ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg on October 17.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian “emphasized that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not and will not provide any weapon to be used in the war in Ukraine,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We believe that the arming of each side of the crisis will prolong the war,” the Iranian foreign minister said in a call with his Portuguese counterpart, Joao Gomes Cravinho. “We have not considered and do not consider war to be the right path either in Ukraine or in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen.”

Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Iranian drones were used in Russian attacks on energy infrastructure in several Ukrainian cities.

Last month, Kyiv said it is significantly reducing its diplomatic relations with Tehran over arms deliveries to Russia.

Iran said the decision was “driven by baseless information provided by foreign media propaganda.”

In a separate phone call with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on October 14, Amir-Abdollahian reiterated Iran’s official stance of neutrality over the war, which started nearly eight months ago.

“We have defense cooperation with Russia, but our policy regarding the war in Ukraine is not sending weapons to the conflicting parties, stopping the war, and ending the displacement of people,” he said.

He also criticized the European Union for protests in Iran sparked by the death in custody of a 22-year-old woman. The EU reportedly plans to impose sanctions on Iran next week for suppressing the protests.

For his part, Borrell said he had urged Iran to stop the repression of protesters and to release those that have been detained in recent weeks.

“People in Iran have the right to peaceful protest and to defend fundamental rights,” Borrell said on Twitter on October 14. “Violent repression must stop immediately. Protesters must be released. Internet access and accountability are needed.”