New Charade; US accuses Iran of providing Russia with drones

On Friday, the White House released an “intelligence finding” purportedly showing that Iran is providing Russia with materials to build a drone manufacturing plant east of Moscow.
Citing US intelligence officials, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby claimed that a plant in Russia’s Alabuga special economic zone could be operational early next year, according to an AP report. 
The White House also released satellite imagery taken in April of the industrial location, several hundred miles east of Moscow, where it believes the plant “will probably be built.”
While the US leveled similar accusations against Iran over the last year, this time the accusations are accompanied by satellite imagery and alleged intelligence assessments to make them seem real. 
Ever since the start of the Ukraine war, Western media and officials repeatedly accused Iran of providing combat drones for use in the Ukraine war despite the fact that Iran sought to keep a safe distance from the war. Iranian officials have long said Iran does not take sides in the Ukraine war and is ready to support any political solution to the war.
So far, Iran has roundly rejected at the highest levels any involvement in the Ukraine war. Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, has said many times that Iran is involved in this war.  In March, he rejected the lie that Iran is involved in the Ukraine war. “We categorically deny any presence in the Ukraine war. And such a thing is not true at all,” he said.
Ayatollah Khamenei also referred to America’s role in the Ukraine war, stating that America waged the Ukraine war in order to expand NATO to the east and now while the people of Ukraine are in trouble and grappling with problems, America and its weapons manufacturing companies are making the most of this war in terms of profits. And for this reason, they stand in the way of the necessary things to end this war.”
In October last year, the Iranian mission to the UN expatiated on the Iranian position on the Ukraine war in a non-paper to the UN. “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s position on the Ukraine situation is clear, consistent, and unwavering, which has been pronounced since the start of the conflict. From the beginning, the Islamic Republic of Iran has always emphasized that all UN Members must fully respect the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter as well as applicable international law, including sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity,” it said. 
The US has been obsessed with what it calls the Iranian threat and it seems that would use whatever accusations at its disposal to damage Iran’s reputation. The latest accusation that Iran is helping Russia with building a drone manufacturing plant could be a plot to make a dent in Iran-Russia cooperation. While it seeks to further bolster its ties with Russia in various areas of cooperation, Iran has made it crystal clear that that cooperation is not directed against a third country. 
*************Caption: A map disseminated by the US government purportedly shows the alleged routes for shipments of drones and other equipment from Iran to Russia. The routes could well be used just for trade and commercial purposes. The US government provided no tangible evidence to back its allegation up.  
By Sadegh Fereyounabadi
First published in Tehran Times

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