Iran says Ukraine president drone criticism a bid to secure more Western arms

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(Reuters) – Tehran on Saturday accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of anti-Iranian propaganda in his call for Iran to halt the supply of drones to Russia, saying his comments were designed to attract more arms and financial aid from the West.

Zelenskiy in a video address on Wednesday called on Iranians to stop their slide into “the dark side of history” by supplying Moscow with drones.

Iran initially denied supplying Shahed drones to Russia but later said it had provided a small number before the conflict began. Ukraine says the drones have played a major role in Russia’s attacks on cities and infrastructure.

“The Ukrainian president’s repeat of delusional claims against the Islamic Republic of Iran is in line with the anti-Iranian propaganda and media war aimed at attracting as many arms and financial aid as possible from Western countries,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said in a statement carried by Iranian media.

Ukraine, Kanaani said, has been refusing to allow an independent investigation into these claims.

Russia has boosted its military cooperation with Iran since the launch of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. It has admitted using Iranian-made drones, but it is now seeking to boost its own production.

In his Wednesday address, Zelenskiy said: “The simple question is this: what is your interest in being an accomplice to Russian terror?”

“Your Shaheds, which terrorise Ukraine every night, mean only that the people of Iran are being driven deeper and deeper into the dark side of history,” he said.

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