Iran acknowledges sending drones to Russia for first time

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DUBAI – Iran’s foreign minister acknowledged for the first time on Saturday that his country supplied Russia with drones, insisting that the transfer occurred prior to Moscow’s war on Ukraine, which has seen Iranian-made drones divebomb Kyiv.

The remarks by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian come after months of conflicting messages from Iran about the weapons shipment, as Russia launches drone attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure and civilian targets.

“We gave Russia a limited number of drones months before the Ukraine war,” Amirabdollahian said after a meeting with reporters in Tehran.

Previously, Iranian officials denied that Iran was arming Russia in its conflict with Ukraine. Earlier this week, Iran’s UN Ambassador, Amir Saeid Iravani, called the allegations “completely unfounded” and reiterated Iran’s neutrality in the war. The United States and its Security Council allies have asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to investigate whether Russia used Iranian drones to attack civilians in Ukraine.

Nonetheless, Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard has vaguely boasted that it has supplied drones to the world’s top powers. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has praised drones and mocked Western concerns about their danger. On Friday, crowds waved placards depicting triangle-shaped drones as a symbol of national pride during state-backed demonstrations commemorating the 1979 US Embassy takeover.

Amirabdollahian claimed on Saturday, as he acknowledged the shipment, that Iran was unaware of the use of its drones in Ukraine. He stated that Iran was still committed to ending the conflict.

“If (Ukraine) has any evidence that Russia used Iranian drones in Ukraine, they should provide it to us,” he said. “We will not be indifferent to this issue if it is proven that Russia used Iranian drones in its war against Ukraine.”

Source: AP

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