Iran has strongly condemned a call by France, Germany and the United Kingdom for the United Nations to investigate the accusations that Russia has used Iranian-origin drones to attack Ukraine, according to its foreign ministry.
Nasser Kanaani, spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, said on Saturday that the call by the so-called E-3 group of countries was “false and baseless” and that it was “strongly rejected and condemned”.
Ukraine says Russia has used Iranian-made Shahed-136 attack drones that cruise towards their target and explode on impact.
“The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in its pursuit to protect its national interest and to secure the rights of the noble Iranian people, reserves the right to respond to any irresponsible action,” the Iranian foreign ministry website quoted Kanaani as saying.
“It will not hesitate to defend the interests of the Iranian people,” he said, without elaborating.
In a letter signed by their UN envoys, the three European countries backed Ukraine’s call on Monday for a UN inquiry, arguing the drone use breached UN Security Council Resolution 2231 endorsing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
In a speech on Saturday, President Ebrahim Raisi struck a defiant tone on Iran’s military sales in general, saying the country was now a popular prospective exporter of weapons.
Tehran denies supplying drones to Moscow in the Ukraine war.
Raisi said during his recent travels overseas, including New York, where he attended the UN General Assembly, “People came up to me asking us to sell them military products. ‘Why us?’ I asked them, ‘there are so many other countries … They said ‘because yours are better’.”
He did not specify the kind of weapons he was asked to sell or who had approached him. This, he said, had angered Iran’s enemies who “do not want us to grow … to conquer markets”.
“Let the enemy get angry and die of anger,” Raisi said.