© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of drones throughout a navy train in an undisclosed location in Iran, on this handout picture obtained on August 24, 2022. Iranian Military/WANA (West Asia Information Company)/Handout by way of REUTERS
(Reuters) – Iran acknowledged for the primary time on Saturday that it had equipped Moscow with drones however stated they have been despatched earlier than the warfare in Ukraine, the place Russia has used drones to focus on energy stations and civilian infrastructure.
Iranian Overseas Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian stated a “small quantity” of drones had been equipped to Russia just a few months earlier than Moscow’s forces invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
In Iran’s most detailed response thus far on the drones, Amirabdollahian denied Tehran was persevering with to produce drones to Moscow.
“This fuss made by some Western international locations that Iran has offered missiles and drones to Russia to assist the warfare in Ukraine – the missile half is totally flawed,” the official IRNA information company quoted him as saying.
“The drone half is true and we offered Russia a small variety of drones months earlier than the Ukraine warfare,” he stated.
In current weeks Ukraine has reported a surge in drone assaults on civilian infrastructure, notably focusing on energy stations and dams, utilizing Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones. Russia denies its forces have used Iranian drones to assault Ukraine.
Final month, two senior Iranian officers and two Iranian diplomats instructed Reuters that Iran had promised to supply Russia with surface-to-surface missiles, along with extra drones.
The official IRNA information company quoted Amirabdollahian as saying Tehran and Kyiv had agreed to debate allegations about the usage of Iranian drones in Ukraine two weeks in the past however the Ukrainians didn’t present up on the agreed assembly.
“We agreed with the international minister of Ukraine to supply us with paperwork they’ve that Russia used Iranian drones in Ukraine,” Amirabdollahian stated, however the Ukrainian delegation pulled out of the deliberate assembly on the final minute.
The Ukrainian Overseas Ministry didn’t instantly reply to a written request for remark.
The Iranian international minister repeated that Tehran would “not stay detached” if it have been confirmed that Russia had used Iranian drones within the warfare towards Ukraine.
The European Union final month agreed new sanctions on Iran over its drone deliveries to Russia, and Britain imposed sanctions on three Iranian navy figures and a defence producer for supplying Russia with drones to assault civilian and infrastructure targets in Ukraine.