Iran on Thursday took a swing at Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over comments he made to Congress this week and denied accusations that Tehran has supplied Russia with drones.
“Mr. Zelenskyy had better know that Iran’s strategic patience over such unfounded accusations is not endless,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said in a threatening message posted to the ministry’s website.
Kanaani also advised Zelenskyy “to draw a lesson from the fate of some other political leaders who contented themselves with the US support.”
The spokesman’s comments came one day after Zelenskky addressed the U.S. Congress in an appeal for additional aid – a plea aimed at GOP lawmakers who are divided on whether providing support to Kyiv is a matter of national security.
“When Russia cannot reach our cities by its artillery, it tries to destroy them with missile attacks,” he said. “More than that, Russia found an ally in its genocidal policy – Iran.
“Iranian deadly drones, sent to Russia in hundreds, became a threat to our critical infrastructure,” he continued. “That is how one terrorist has found the other. It is just a matter of time – when they will strike against your other allies, if we do not stop them now.”
The White House first disclosed Tehran’s plans to “gift” Russia hundreds of Shahed-136 drones earlier this year and by August 1,000 Iranian-supplied drones had been shipped to Russia.
Iranian drones have since been heavily used against civilian targets in Ukraine as Russia looks to starve the nation of its energy resources.
Kyiv, the U.S. and international allies have accused and sanctioned Tehran over its arms support for Moscow.
But Iran has denied providing Russia with drones despite claims from the U.S. State Department that there is “abundant evidence” Russia is using Iranian drones in Ukraine.
Iran has repeatedly denied these claims.
Reports and comments made by top defense officials suggest Iran and Russia are also expanding their “defense partnership” by helping the Kremlin produce Iranian drones within Russian borders.
The White House further accused Iran of being “directly engaged on the ground” in Crimea.
Iran calls these accusations media manipulation and said it has “always respected the territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine.”
In July, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, backed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and suggested NATO would have started a war over Russia’s occupation of Crimea anyway, referring to it as a “dangerous entity.”
“If you had not taken the initiative, the other side would have done so and initiated a war,” he said according to a statement from the Iranian leader’s office.