Iran has denied supplying Russia with weapons for use in Ukraine, saying it “has not and will not”.
The denial was reportedly made in a phone call between Iran’s foreign minister and his Portuguese counterpart on Friday, following claims by Kiev and US intelligence that Russia is using Iran-made “kamikaze drones” in attacks on Ukrainian territory.
The Iranian government said Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had “repeatedly” stressed during the call that Tehran “does not and will not” provide weapons for use in the war in Ukraine.
“We believe that arming each side of the crisis will prolong the war, so we have not considered war in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria or Yemen to be the right path,” said Amir-Abdollahian. an Iranian reading of the call.
The Portuguese government said that Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho expressed concern “about the recently reported evidence of the use of Iranian drones by the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine” and “underlined the need to ensure that the Iranian authorities do not supply this equipment to Russia.”
Ukrainian officials have said Russia has used Iranian-supplied kamikaze drones in recent weeks in strikes against Kyiv, Vinnytsia, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia and other cities, and have called on Western countries to step up aid in the face of the new challenge. The Ukrainians themselves have used kamikaze drones to strike Russian targets.
Drones have played a major role in the conflict since Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine in late February, but their use has increased since the summer, when the United States and Kiev said Moscow had acquired drones from Iran.
On Saturday, a few hours after a call between foreign ministers, the Ukrainian army said it had struck four kamikaze drones in the city of Zaporizhzhia overnight.
Kamikaze drones or suicide drones are a type of aerial weapon system. They are known as lag munitions because they are able to wait for some time in an area identified as a potential target and only strike after identifying an enemy asset.
They are small, portable and easy to fire, but their main advantage is that they are difficult to detect and can be fired from a distance.
The name “Kamikaze” indicates that the drones are disposable. They are designed to strike behind enemy lines and are destroyed in attack, unlike traditional, larger and faster military drones that return home after firing missiles.
U.S. officials told CNN in July that Iran began demonstrating Shahed series drones to Russia last month at Kashan Airfield south of Tehran. The drones are capable of carrying precision-guided missiles and have a payload of approximately 50 kilograms (110 pounds).
In August, US officials said Russia had purchased the drones and was training its forces to use them. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russia has ordered 2,400 Shahed-136 drones from Iran.
According to accounts of the Portuguese foreign minister’s call, the pair also discussed protests in Iran since the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who was arrested by moral police in September and accused of violating the country’s conservative dress code. the code
Amini’s death has sparked outrage over everything from the rights and freedoms of women in the Islamic Republic to the lasting and devastating effects of the punishment.
“Minister João Cravinho confirmed that the repressive Iranian legislation against women’s rights is at the root of the recent events in that country and called on the Iranian authorities to give a positive signal in the promotion of women’s rights,” read the Portuguese reader. the call