The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman has rejected Western media reports about Iran sending combat drones to Russia to be used in the Ukraine war as “baseless.”
Nasser Kan’ani made the remark on Monday in reaction to Western media reports and statements by Ukrainian officials that Russian army is using Iranian drones in its war with Ukraine.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran considers reports about delivering drones to Russia for use in the Ukraine war ‘baseless’ and does not confirm them,” he said.
“Since the beginning of the conflict, we have voiced our principled and clear policy of active neutrality and opposition to war, while stressing the need for the two sides to solve their problems through political means free from violence,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Kan’ani noted that during the past months and in numerous contacts and meetings with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts, the Iranian foreign minister has highlighted the necessity of settling differences through peaceful means and via dialogue, and has declared Tehran's readiness to help with this process.
On Monday, the Ukrainian military repeated allegations that Russia has used Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones to attack the Mykolaiv region recently and claimed that its Air Force has shot down five out of seven unmanned aerial vehicles.
Iran has in the past rejected the claims about its plan to sell “hundreds” of the drones to Moscow and train Russian pilots on how to use them, saying the country will not assist either side of the war.
On July 11, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan claimed Washington had received “information” indicating that Iran was preparing to provide Russia with “up to several hundred UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline” for use in the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Late last month, Ukraine announced that it would withdraw accreditation of the Iranian ambassador and significantly reduce the number of diplomatic staff at the Iranian embassy in Kiev over what it called Tehran’s “unfriendly” decision to supply Russian forces with drones.
In response to Ukraine's decision, Kan'ani said the decision was "based on unconfirmed reports and resulted from media hype by foreign sides," stressing that Iran would take a "proportional action" in this regard.
Russia began a "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24, saying it was aimed at “demilitarizing” the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, which is made up of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics.
Back in 2014, the two republics broke away from Ukraine, refusing to recognize a Western-backed Ukrainian government there that had overthrown a democratically-elected Russia-friendly administration.