© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of drones during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on August 24, 2022. Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS
(Reuters) -Iran on Saturday strongly condemned a call by France, Germany and Britain for the United Nations to probe accusations that Russia has used Iranian-origin drones to attack Ukraine, its foreign ministry said.
Tehran denies supplying drones to Moscow in the Ukraine war.
In a speech on Saturday, President Ebrahim Raisi struck a defiant tone on Iran’s military sales in general, saying the country was now a popular prospective exporter of weapons.
He said during his recent travels overseas, including New York, where he attended the United Nations General Assembly, “people came up to me asking us to sell them military products. ‘Why us?’ I asked them, ‘there are so many other countries … They said ‘because yours are better’.”
He did not specify the kind of weapons he was asked to sell or who had approached him.
This, he said, had angered Iran’s enemies who “do not want us to grow … to conquer markets”.
“Let the enemy get angry and die of anger,” Raisi said.
Nasser Kanaani, spokesperson for Iran’s foreign ministry said Friday’s call by the so called E-3 group of countries was “false and baseless” and that it was “strongly rejected and condemned”.
Ukraine says Russia has used Iranian-made Shahed-136 attack drones that cruise towards their target and explode on impact.
“The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in its pursuit to protect its national interest and to secure the rights of the noble Iranian people, reserves the right to respond to any irresponsible action,” the Iranian foreign ministry website quoted Kanaani as saying.
“It will not hesitate to defend the interests of the Iranian people,” he said, without elaborating.
In a letter signed by their U.N. envoys and seen by Reuters, the three European countries backed Ukraine’s call on Monday for a U.N. probe, arguing the drone use breached U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231 endorsing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.