Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Volodymyr ZelenskyyUkrainian Presidential Press Service/via Reuters TV/Handout via REUTERS

Iran on Thursday criticized Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after he told US Congress in his speech on Wednesday that Iran is providing Russia with drones for use the war against Ukraine.

“Russia found an ally in this, in this genocidal policy: Iran,” Zelenskyy said in his speech. “Iranian deadly drones sent to Russia in hundreds and hundreds became a threat to our critical infrastructure. That is how one terrorist has found the other.”

“It is just a matter of time [before] they will strike against your other allies if we do not stop them now. We must do it,” he added.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry released a statement on Thursday in which it condemned what it described as Zelenskyy’s “repeated accusations and rude remarks against the Islamic Republic of Iran”.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani said in a statement that Iran has repeatedly responded to “baseless accusations” regarding drones leveled by Ukrainian officials against the Islamic Republic. He once again stressed “that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not supplied any military hardware to any side for use in the Ukraine war.”

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman also noted that Iran has always respected the territorial integrity of all countries including Ukraine and added that “Zelenskyy had better know that Iran’s strategic patience over such unfounded accusations is not endless."

In July, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US had intelligence indicating that Russia is looking to Iran for UAVs.

He indicated at the time that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with several UAVs for use in Ukraine, and train Russian forces to use these UAVs.

In August, it was reported that Iran had begun training Russians to use its drones, though it was also noted that Russia is experiencing “numerous failures” and technical glitches with the drones it purchased from Iran.

In September, Ukraine reported the first Russian attacks carried out using Iranian-made drones, targeting the south of the country, including the strategic city of Odessa on the Black Sea.

At the start of October, Iranian-made drones were also reportedly used in an attack in the Ukrainian town of Bila Tserkva, southwest of the capital Kyiv.

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, recently acknowledged for the first time that his country gave drones to Russia, saying that the deliveries happened before the war started. Iranian officials had previously denied sending any drones to Russia.

Zelenskyy later said in an address to the Ukrainian people that he knows Iran’s claims are false.