The Iranian government has acknowledged for the first time that the country has supplied Russia with drones, but it insisted that the transfer came before Moscow launched its war on Ukraine.
“We gave a limited number of drones to Russia months before the Ukraine war,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told reporters in Tehran on November 5.
Russian troops have been actively using the Iranian-made Mohajer-6 combat drone in recent weeks to target critical Ukrainian civilian and infrastructure objectives, including in the capital, Kyiv.
But Iranian officials have consistently denied arming Russia in its war on Ukraine, with Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Amir Saeid Iravani earlier this week calling the allegations “totally unfounded.”
The United States and its Western allies on the Security Council have called on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to investigate if Russia has used Iranian drones to attack civilians in Ukraine.
As he acknowledged the drone shipment to Russia, Amirabdollahian claimed that Tehran was oblivious to the use of Iranian drones in Ukraine.
“If [Ukraine] has any documents in their possession that Russia used Iranian drones in Ukraine, they should provide them to us,” the foreign minister said. “If it is proven to us that Russia used Iranian drones in the war against Ukraine, we will not be indifferent to this issue.”
Amirabdollahian’s comments come a day after the foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized nations criticized Tehran’s “destabilising activities in and around the Middle East,” such as the transfer of drones and other weapons “to state and non-state actors.”
In a statement issued after talks in Germany, the ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the European Union’s top diplomat, criticized Tehran’s “destabilising activities in and around the Middle East,” such as the transfer of drones and other weapons “to state and non-state actors.”
The ministers also condemned “Russia’s recent escalation, including its attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, in particular energy and water facilities, across Ukraine using missiles and Iranian drones and trainers.”