TEHRAN – Iran says it is ready to talk to Ukrainian officials to address allegations that it is arming Russia and plans to ramp up military cooperation with it, as the war in Ukraine nears the end of its eighth month.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani reiterated Tehran’s denials about sending drones to Russia to be used in the conflict, and for the first time expressed readiness for “dialogue and negotiation with Ukraine to clear these allegations”.
It came after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba claimed on Monday that he had proposed to President Volodymyr Zelenksy the formal breaking of diplomatic ties with Iran after Russia’s latest attacks, which killed several people and damaged infrastructure.
Kanaani said since the onset of the conflict, Iran has been observing a policy of “active neutrality,” expressing its opposition to continuation of the warfare, and emphasizing the need for peaceful resolution of standing differences between Moscow and Kiev.
Iran has also stressed the need for respect for various countries’ sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, including Ukraine, based on the principles of the United Nation’s Charter, the official added.
The Kremlin on Tuesday said that Russian technology with Russian names was “being used” in Ukraine, and referred questions to the defense ministry.
On Monday, Ukraine called on the European Union to impose sanctions on Iran for the alleged arms sales. The bloc’s foreign ministers did not take action during a meeting in Luxembourg, but foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the EU was reviewing evidence at its disposal and would impose new sanctions if it could independently verify arms sales to Russia for the war.
The bloc, however, imposed sanctions on a slew of Iranian officials and entities over riots in the Islamic Republic, which the West has vociferously supported.
The West appears to be worried by close growing relations between Tehran and Moscow. Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian said Tuesday a long-term cooperation agreement that has been in the works since last year will be finalized by the end of the current Iranian calendar year in March 2023.