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Iran Denies Selling Drones to Russia for Use in Ukraine War

By Nigar Bayramli October 6, 2022


An underground drone base at an undisclosed location in Iran. / AFP/Getty Images

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanani has dismissed reports claiming that Iranian-made drones were being sent to Russia "for use in the war in Ukraine," calling them "baseless."

"The Islamic Republic of Iran considers the published reports on the delivery of drones to Russia in order to be used in the Ukraine war as baseless and does not confirm them," Kanani said on October 3, according to the Fars news agency.

He called for a political solution to the war, saying that Iran had "always maintained a principled and clear policy of active neutrality and opposition to war since the beginning of the conflict."

The spokesman's statement came after a tweet by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry with a photo of an Iranian-made drone captured during a Russian attack.

"Recently, in response to a note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, the ambassador of Iran stated that his country has not supplied drones to Russia. Here is the Iranian drone Qods Mohajer-6, which was launched to coordinate an attack on Odesa a few days ago," the ministry tweeted on October 3.

On September 23, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stripped Iranian ambassador Manouchehr Moradi of his accreditation and reduced the embassy's diplomatic personnel. 

The Iranian side was told that the supply of Iranian weapons to Russia for its further use against the Ukrainian civilian population directly contradicts the position of neutrality, respect for the sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine, publicly declared by the Iranian top leadership.

"Supplying weapons to Russia for waging war against Ukraine is an unfriendly act that deals a serious blow to the relations between Ukraine and Iran," the foreign ministry emphasized.

On the night of October 5, the Ukrainian Air Defence units reportedly shot down six Iranian-made Shahed-136 kamikaze drones in the south of the country. In the early hours of October 5, Bila Tserkva, a city in Kyiv Region, was attacked by Iranian-made kamikaze drones, resulting in fires at infrastructure facilities and one casualty.

On September 22, one civilian was killed and the other wounded in a Russian drone attack on the city of Odesa. The drones were launched from the Black Sea, and one of them, an Iranian-made kamikaze drone Shahed-136, was shot down by the Ukrainian military. Later, the Ukrainian forces shot down for the first time the multi-purpose strike drone of Iranian production Mohajer-6, designed for surveillance and fire damage. Ukraine’s "Southern" Air Command also shot down four Shahed-136 in the Mykolaiv region.

Iranian authorities reject arming Russia with drones in the Ukrainian war. However, in an article published in late August, The Washington Post claimed that Russia has received at least two types of UAVs from Iran — Mohajer-6 and Shaheed, which Moscow plans to use in the war with Ukraine.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on September 28 that Tehran and Moscow cooperate in the defense area, but has insisted that Iran "is not helping either side in the Ukraine war."

Meanwhile, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei openly backed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at a meeting with visiting President Vladimir Putin on July 19, saying that if Moscow "had not taken the initiative, the other side would have caused a war on its own initiative."