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Denying Western charges, Iran says morally bound to avoid fueling Ukraine war

A general view of a United Nations Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on March 20, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Iran’s permanent mission to the United Nations has categorically refuted Western media accusations that the Islamic Republic provides ballistic missiles to Russia in its long-running war with Ukraine, saying Tehran is morally bound to avoid fueling the Moscow-Kiev conflict.

The dismissal came after Reuters cited “six sources” as claiming earlier in the week that Iran had provided Russia with a large number of powerful surface-to-surface ballistic weapons amid deepening military cooperation between the two strategic partners.

“Despite no legal restrictions on ballistic missile sales, Iran is morally obligated to refrain from weapon transactions during the Russia-Ukraine conflict to prevent fueling the war—and that is rooted in Iran’s adherence to international law and the UN Charter,” the mission said in a post on its official X social media account late on Friday.

Reuters also claimed in its report that the “shipments began in early January after a deal was finalized in meetings late last year between Iranian and Russian military and security officials that took place in Tehran and Moscow.”

Following the groundless accusations, the US administration warned Iran of a “swift and severe” response from the international community if it had provided Russia with ballistic missiles.

Speaking at a virtual press briefing, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said Washington had not confirmed that missiles had moved from Iran to Russia.

“For our part, we will take this matter to the UN Security Council,” Kirby added. “We will implement additional sanctions against Iran. And we will coordinate further response options with our allies and partners in Europe and elsewhere.”

Ukraine and Western countries had also accused Tehran of exporting drones to Russia for use in the conflict in Ukraine, with Iran having repeatedly dismissed the accusations as “baseless,” saying it had given only “a limited number” of drones to Russia months before the war started.

This is while Western arms manufacturers are reaping exorbitant profits from the prolongation of the war in Ukraine.

US weapons sales overseas rose sharply last year, reaching a record total of $238 billion, with the State Department reporting that the US government directly negotiated $81 billion in sales, a 56% increase from 2022.

The rest were direct sales by US military companies to foreign nations. Ukraine’s neighbor Poland, currently on a drive to expand its military, made some of the biggest purchases to the tune of $30 billion from the United States. 

British arms maker BAE Systems reported on Wednesday a record profit of £25.3 billion in 2023 amid the Ukraine and Gaza wars.

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