Iran donates drones, receives nuclear aid from Russia: Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Tehran is supporting Moscow with drones in its invasion in exchange for help developing its nuclear program.

Addressing the Haaretz Conference on Democracy On Monday, Zelensky said the Islamic Republic would not have been able to send material to Russia if Israel had not decided to remain neutral in the war in Ukraine.

“In eight months of full-scale warfare, Russia has used nearly 4,500 missiles against us. And their stock of missiles is dwindling. Therefore, Russia went to look for affordable weapons in other countries to continue its terror. He found them in Iran,” Zelensky noted.

The Ukrainian President further noted: “I have a question for you – how does Russia pay Iran for this, in your opinion? Is Iran only interested in money? Probably no money at all, but Russian aid to Iran’s nuclear program. Probably, this is exactly the meaning of their alliance.

Although Zelensky has provided no evidence, Russia has built Iran’s only nuclear power plant at Bushehr and has a contract to expand the plant with the addition of two new reactors at a cost of $10 billion.

Zelensky’s comments come as Ukraine’s Defense Ministry’s intelligence directorate said on Monday that mobilized Russian soldiers are being provided with Iranian-made body armor and helmets, and new groups of “advisers” are also arriving in Russia to train them in the use of a new and deadlier type of drone, the Arash drones.

Major General Kyrylo Budanov said that “Russian forces have used most of their cruise missile arsenal and have only 13% of their pre-war Iskander, 43% of Kaliber and 45% of Kh-101 and Kh-555 pre-war stocks. .”

President Volodymyr Zelensky in an interview in Ktiv on September 16, 2022

Budanov added that with the dwindling supply of cruise missiles, the Russian military relies on Iranian drones, but Tehran can send 300 drones per shipment because manufacturing drones takes a long time.

In remarks reported Monday, Iran’s foreign minister appeared to accept as possible, despite past denials, that Moscow had used Iranian drones in Ukraine.

“If it is proven to us that Iranian drones are being used in the Ukrainian war against the people, we must not remain indifferent,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, as reported by Reuters.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry website and official news agencies last Friday reported Amir-Abdollahian denying claims at a European summit last week that Iran provided Russia with military drones deployed in the war in Ukraine.

Last week, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba formally requested air defense systems and training from the Israeli Foreign Ministry in the face of attacks by Iranian Shahed drones. However, the Israeli Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, underlined “that we do not sell weapons to Ukraine”.

Ukrainian police officers shoot an Iranian drone over Kyiv on October 17, 2022

However, Israel’s prime minister told the Jerusalem Post Sunday that Tel Aviv is increasingly concerned about the “dangerous proximity” between Moscow and Tehran over the supply of Iranian-made drones to attack Ukraine.

Lapid said Israel was doing daily assessments to review its stance on the conflict, adding that “it’s not something we’re going to ignore or do nothing…so what we need to do is reassess daily and react”.

Meanwhile, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that Iran was making the world less secure by supplying Russia with drones to use against targets in Ukraine.

The United States “has been trying for a while to get a nuclear deal with Iran so we can make the world safer and now they’re going to help the Russians and make the world less safe,” Pelosi added.

With the long suspension of negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement, Iran is now accused of involvement in the war in Ukraine. On the other hand, Tehran’s crackdown on domestic protests is also attracting international attention, raising the possibility of further isolation and sanctions for Iran.

An Iranian daily said on Tuesday that developments in the war in Ukraine are alarmingly at the expense of Iran.

Aftabnews has warned the Iranian government that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an aggressive move to occupy an independent UN member state and that governments that support the aggressor will be seen as violators of international law.

“The United States and three European countries are said to have interpreted Iran’s supply of drones as a violation of UN Resolution 2231. If proven after investigation, this will justify and legitimize the activation of the stimulus mechanism against Iran in the JCPOA agreement. Aftabnews added.

If the stimulus mechanism were triggered, Iran would revert to Chapter Seven of the UN Charter and all sanctions in place before the 2015 nuclear deal would automatically be reimposed on Iran.

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