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Iran cites NATO’s ‘provocations’ as rationale for Russian invasion of Ukraine

But after blaming West, Tehran too urges political solution to burgeoning conflict

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is seen before meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow, on October 6, 2021. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/ Pool/AFP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is seen before meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow, on October 6, 2021. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/ Pool/AFP)

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian Thursday blamed the Western security alliance NATO for initiating a confrontation that has led to the Russian military operation that has begun an invasion on Ukraine.

“The Ukraine crisis is rooted in NATO’s provocations,” he tweeted. “We don’t believe that resorting to war is a solution. Imperative to establish ceasefire & to find a political and democratic resolution.”

Iran and Russia are viewed as strategic allies, with mutual economic and political interests, including on matters such as the Iran nuclear deal, to which Russia is a party.

On Tuesday Iran had urged “restraint” from both Russia and Ukraine, again blaming NATO and the United States for the sharp escalation of tensions.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran calls on all parties to exercise restraint and avoid any action that could aggravate tensions,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, echoed that sentiment, saying that “unfortunately, the interventions and provocative actions of NATO and mainly the US have complicated the situation in the region.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously praised the countries’ “close cooperation” on the international stage.

Putin and his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi hailed bilateral ties during a meeting in Moscow in January, as they met to discuss the Iran nuclear deal.

Raisi presented Moscow with draft documents on strategic cooperation that would cement joint collaboration for the next two decades.

“We in Iran have no limits for expanding ties with Russia,” the Iranian leader said. He added that Tehran wanted to develop relations with Moscow that would “not be temporary, but permanent and strategic.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi talk to each other during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday, January 19, 2022. (Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

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