During a press conference in Tokyo on Monday, visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian rejected allegations that Iran is providing drones to Russia in its war with Ukraine.
Amir-Abdollahian called such claims “completely wrong and incorrect”. “We have provided no parties with drones for use in Ukraine,” the top diplomat asserted.
Amir-Abdollahian also said that Iran has gone great lengths to prove the Ukrainian side it is not involved in the war. According to the foreign minister, Tehran and Kyiv held talks in the Persian Gulf country of Oman to resolve their issues but the Ukrainian side was unable to offer any evidence on its anti-Iran claims. “In a phone call with the Ukrainian foreign minister, I said I am certain you do not have the alleged documents” added the chief Iranian diplomat. He said Ukraine did not show up for the next round of talks in Warsaw, Poland.
Amir-Abdollahian’s visit to Japan is the first such visit by an Iranian foreign minister since 2019. The top diplomat discussed political, economic and trade issues during meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and the country’s foreign minister as well as Japan’s minister of health.
Amir-Abdollahian was faced with allegations of Iran’s involvement in the Ukraine war a day after the Japanese ambassador to Tehran made similar claims. During an interview, Ikawa Kazutoshi urged Iranian officials to “side with the Ukrainian people”. This is while Iran has repeatedly reaffirmed its neutral position and called for a political solution to the conflict.
Japan is reiterating baseless claims of the Western governments regarding a conflict it has nothing to do with, while it has chosen to stay silent about Washington’s crippling sanctions against Iran over the past years. Not only that, Japan has been abiding by the embargos and has ceased almost all trade with the Iranian side.
Japan is also acting on Washington’s demands as it is marking the 78th anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombardments of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 that killed more than 200,000 people.
While Iran has used everything in its power to debunk allegations of drone provision to Russia for use in the Ukraine war, the West continues to level such allegations. Japan, a country with an uneven relationship with the U.S., parrots the same dross. It behoves Japan to act more independently when it comes to its relations with Iran.
The Japanese ambassador to Iran has gone so far as to assume the role of an omniscient diplomat educating Iranians on who is threatening international security. “Unfortunately, Russian behaviors threaten global security. And Japan strongly condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” he claimed, adding, “We stand by the Ukrainian people. And as a friendly country, we ask the Iranian authorities to stand by the Ukrainian people.”
Aside from the grandiloquent and bombastic tone, the Japanese ambassador’s presumptuous remarks are indicative of Tokyo’s inability to separate facts from fiction at a time when Japan is not in a position to claim the moral high ground in terms of siding with the oppressed. Japan blindly followed the unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iran when it wasn’t supposed to do so. The Japanese ambassador and his superiors in Tokyo should be reminded of the number of Iranian patients who died and continue to die, as a result of the cruel U.S. sanctions with which Japan eagerly complied.
Instead of making officious remarks, Japanese officials, including Aikawa Kazutoshi, need to take a closer look at who’s to blame for the Ukraine war. Iran has said time and again that it has nothing to do with the war and even offered its good offices to find a political solution to the war. The West rejected Iran’s efforts for political reasons that are known to all. But why Japan is keen to put its oar in Kazutoshi may have the answer.
By Sadegh Fereydounabadi
First published in Tehran Times