Reports about UAV deliveries to Russia are "unfounded," Tehran says
Tehran is neutral when it comes to the conflict in Ukraine and considers reports of supplying combat drones to Russia baseless, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Monday. Ukraine has expelled the Iranian ambassador over what Kiev called the "unfriendly act" of providing drones to Moscow.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran considers the reports about the delivery of UAVs to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine as unfounded and does not confirm it," Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said in a statement, quoted by the Mehr news agency.
"Since the start of the conflict, we have always declared our principled and clear policy, which is based on active neutrality, and our opposition to war and the need for a political solution to the conflict between the two sides, and the need to avoid resorting to violence," Kanani added.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman also described the conflict in Ukraine as being "a result of NATO provocations" and said that Tehran has supported "any efforts" for a peaceful settlement.
Kiev revoked the credentials of the Iranian ambassador on September 23, after reports that several suicide drones resembling the Iranian-made Shahed-136 had struck targets in Odessa.
Iran "regrets" Ukraine's decision and will make an "appropriate response," Kanani said at the time.
While the drones Russia has used in Ukraine outwardly resemble the Iranian Shaheds, recovered fragments have shown them with Cyrillic lettering and the Russian name 'Geran-2' (Geranium) on the tail.
The accusation that Iran was selling combat drones to Russia came from the US, which has supplied Ukraine with hundreds of tactical kamikaze drones such as Switchblade and Phoenix Ghost, the latter reportedly custom-developed to Kiev's specifications.
Ukraine has also received dozens of strike drones from the Turkish company Baykar Makina, which reportedly vowed "never" to sell to Russia, all while Ankara has insisted it remains neutral in the conflict.