Iran’s President denies sending drones and other weapons to Russia, decries U.S. meddling

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during the official farewell ceremony for his trip to New York, at Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, Iran, September 17, 2023.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks in the course of the official farewell ceremony for his journey to New York, at Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, Iran, September 17, 2023.
| Photograph Credit score: through Reuters

Iran’s President on Monday denied his nation had despatched drones to Russia to be used within the battle in Ukraine, at the same time as the USA accuses Iran of not solely offering the weapons however serving to Russia construct a plant to fabricate them.

“We’re in opposition to the battle in Ukraine,” President Ebrahim Raisi mentioned as he met with media executives on the sidelines of the world’s premier world convention, the high-level leaders’ assembly on the UN Basic Meeting.

The Iranian chief spoke simply hours after 5 Individuals who had been held in Iranian custody arrived in Qatar, freed in a deal that noticed President Joe Biden comply with unlock almost $6 billion in frozen Iranian belongings.

Often known as a hard-liner, Mr. Raisi seemingly sought to strike a diplomatic tone. He reiterated presents to mediate the Russia-Ukraine battle regardless of being one of many Kremlin’s strongest backers. And he advised that the just-concluded take care of the USA that led to the prisoner trade and belongings launch may “assist construct belief” between the longtime foes.

Mr. Raisi acknowledged that Iran and Russia have lengthy had robust ties, together with protection cooperation. However he denied sending weapons to Moscow because the battle started. “If they’ve a doc that Iran gave weapons or drones to the Russians after the battle,” he mentioned, then they need to produce it.

Iranian officers have made a sequence of contradictory feedback in regards to the drones. U.S. and European officers say the sheer variety of Iranian drones getting used within the battle in Ukraine exhibits that the circulation of such weapons has not solely continued however intensified after hostilities started.

Regardless of his remarks about belief, Mr. Raisi’s tone towards the USA wasn’t all conciliatory; he had harsh phrases at different moments.

Mr. Raisi mentioned his nation “sought good relations with all neighbouring international locations” within the Center East, together with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“We consider that if the Individuals cease interfering within the international locations of the Persian Gulf and different areas on this planet, and thoughts their very own enterprise … the scenario of the international locations and their relations will enhance,” Raisi mentioned.

The United Arab Emirates first sought to reengage diplomatically with Tehran after assaults on ships off their coasts that have been attributed to Iran. Saudi Arabia, with Chinese language mediation, reached a détente in March to re-establish diplomatic ties after years of tensions, together with over the dominion’s battle on Yemen, Riyadh’s opposition to Syrian President Bashar Assad and fears over Iran’s nuclear program.

Mr. Raisi warned different international locations within the area to not get too shut with US ally Israel, saying: “The normalization of relations with the Zionist regime doesn’t create safety.” As a prosecutor, Mr. Raisi took half within the 1988 mass executions that killed some 5,000 dissidents in Iran.

The Iranian chief was dismissive of Western criticism of his nation’s remedy of girls, its crackdown on dissent and its nuclear program, together with over protests that started simply over a 12 months in the past over the dying in police custody final 12 months of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian lady arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s necessary scarf legislation.

He in contrast the protests in Iran to labor strikes and demonstrations by ethnic minorities in the USA and Western Europe. He famous that many individuals are killed annually within the US by the hands of police, and criticized the media for not specializing in these deaths as a lot because the remedy of demonstrators in his nation. The deaths of Individuals by the hands of police are extensively coated in US media.

Mr. Raisi has sought, with out proof, to painting the favored nationwide demonstrations in Iran as a Western plot.

“The difficulty(s) of girls, hijab, human rights and the nuclear concern,” he mentioned, “are all pretexts by the Individuals and Westerners to break the Islamic republic as an impartial nation.”

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