Iran’s embassy in Kyiv said it was moving to neighboring Moldova, citing “the impossibility of maintaining normal operations” amid an escalating Russian war on Ukraine.
According to his Statement of March 22the Iranian diplomatic mission will continue in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, “until the situation in Ukraine returns to normal”.
The embassy added that the new location’s proximity to the war-affected country will help Iranians stranded in Ukraine to stay connected to its supplies.
The announcement had been made informally the day before in a video message from Iran’s ambassador to Ukraine, Manouchehr Moradi, who also holds the position of Iranian Chargé d’Affaires in Moldova. Moradi assured Iranian nationals of continued service, as he regretted that “some of our Iranian compatriots were affected by this devastating war and had to be displaced from their homes.”
Since the outbreak of the Russian war against Ukraine last month, an unknown number of Iranians, mostly university students, have faced enormous challenges in their attempts to flee the relentless violence. Videos of some taking shelter kyiv basements, imploring the Iranian authorities, have caused concern among their families and Iranian society at large. A viral video last month prompted the ambassador to visit the shelter to try to help them in their ordeal.
As deadly airstrikes began to escalate early in the war, Iranian officials rushed to evacuate nationals. The response, however, seems to have come too late when Ukrainian airspace was already closed, leaving Tehran with some practical measures and little beyond advice to Iranians on how to cross to neighboring countries such as Hungary, Romania and Poland.
Critics have argued that as a close ally of the Kremlin, the Iranian government should have requested some form of warning from Moscow for a quick evacuation of Iranian nationals. Four weeks into the war, officials in Tehran say 1,400 Iranians managed to cross into Poland, with only two flights dispatched to take them home. Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahianhowever, promised that “no request from Iranians in Ukraine will go unanswered.”
The Islamic Republic has refrained from condemning Russia’s war on Ukraine, largely attributing the conflict to the “provocative” policies of the United States and the NATO alliance.
And in his closing remarks on the March 21 war, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei further reiterated its previous position.
Without criticizing or naming Russia as an invading party, Khamenei said that the Ukrainian president had been brought to power by Western states and that the ongoing war had exposed “Western racism”, with “black refugees being separated from whites and expelled refugee trains. “