Remarks to the Press by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy regarding the Iranian drones in the context of the situation around Ukraine
Today we have observed another round of the disinformation campaign in the Security Council by the Western delegations, as they raised in the Council the issue of the UAVs allegedly used by Russia in Ukraine.
The aim of our Western colleagues is clear: they attempt to hit two targets at once, inventing an artificial pretext to put pressure on Russia and on Iran. On Russia, they try to distract the attention of the international community from their de-facto engagement in the conflict in Ukraine. You all have seen reports of new arms transfers from the West, which help Kiev to reach the rear regions far beyond the front line and shell civilian objects killing dozens of civilians in Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions of the Russian Federations. These arms transfers are coupled with large-scale direct engagement of Western military instructors in the military action within the ranks of the Ukrainian army.
In parallel, the West, in line with its usual shameful practice, tries to put pressure on Iran, levelling baseless accusations about its violation the UNSC resolution 2231. We have seen such baseless allegations and conspiracy theories before, never any evidence being presented to the Council.
All this is nonsense. I would like to stress that the UAVs used by the Russian army in Ukraine are manufactured in Russia. So those are all baseless allegations. You can see the labels “Geran”- which means ‘geranium’, the flower, in Russian, - on the outer shell of these UAVs. As stated by Iranian officials, and they circulated their position in the Council today, no arms transfers in violation of resolution 2231 have been ever conducted by Iran. No drones were supplied by Iran to Russia for the use in the conflict in Ukraine. And I would recommend that you do not underestimate technological capabilities of the Russian drone industry. I can tell you, we know what to do and now how to do it.
As I said, the situation around the drones has no real link to UNSC resolution 2231. But it is even more absurd and hypocritical that the allegations against Iran and Russia come from the country which is itself in flagrant violation of this resolution! As you know, the US has been violating it for four years now, since they unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018. And they have yet shown no practical willingness to return to its implementation. Moreover, they continue to introduce new illegitimate unilateral sanctions against Iran.
I would say that our Western colleagues, eager to shield Kiev regime by all means possible, are particularly short-sighted in their desire to accuse Iran. These are very unwise and provocative moves on their behalf that can further complicate the fragile negotiation process aimed at the restoration of the JCPOA.
On the role of the UN Secretariat. It has no mandate to investigate anything regarding UNSC resolution 2231. Its role, as enshrined in the Note of the Security Council President 2016/44 of 16 January 2016, is purely technical – to prepare meeting rooms, circulate communications etc. They are not a sanction committee or its panel of experts. We have been dissatisfied with the overall performance of the Secretariat in the context of resolution 2231. They act in a biased way, following the guidance from the Western capitals, and engage in illegal investigations in third countries, though they have neither mandate, nor expertise to do so. After the Secretariat digs something, or rather studies whatever ready-made is handed to it by the West, they try to present it as the conclusions of the Secretary-General. This is very unprofessional and casts a shadow on his authority.
We hope that the Secretariat and the Secretary-General himself will not again violate the decisions of the UN Security Council, will not go beyond their technical mandate and will abstain from engaging in any illegitimate investigation. Otherwise, we will have to reassess our collaboration with them, which is hardly in anyone’s interests. We do not want to do it, but there will be no other choice.
Q: You say that they are not Iranian drones. There have been pictures taken of those drones in the sky. I am not a drone expert. But weapons experts have looked at those and they say they look like Shahed-136 which is an Iranian drone. Are they Russian drones of an Iranian design? Can you explain why they seem to look identical to the Iranian drones?
A: I am not a drone expert myself. I trust your opinion. Maybe you understand it better about drones. But I can tell you that first of all, Press Secretary of the President [of Russia] said that they are Russian made. Secondly, when you look at the debris on the ground once they have hit the target, you will see inscriptions in Russian on the shell. I do not think that Russian is very widely used in Iran.
Speaking about Iranian drones, I have heard that they have the same shape as some American drones. So can we now say that Russian drones resemble American drones? This is a very difficult wordplay. But I’d say that we have our drone industry which produces the things that we need for this campaign. So all these allegations are entirely on the conscience of our Western colleagues.
Q: If the allegations are wrong, then why are you opposed to UN independent inspectors checking that they are not Iranian made drones?
A: Because they have no mandate to do so. There is no sanctions committee.
Q: Why wouldn’t you let them in to prove your cause?
A: We cannot let in or agree with somebody who has no mandate to go there for whatever findings. This is absolutely irresponsible. Why should we do it? This team does not have a mandate to conduct the investigation. It is not part of a sanctions committee. So this would be absolutely unprofessional and political.
Q: Just to clarify what you have said. You basically said that if the UN does sends experts to Ukraine to look at these drones that you would in some way…
A: Reassess our cooperation with the Secretariat.
Q: What does that mean?
A: You are an English speaker. I believe you know what ‘reassess’ means.
Q: Reassess cooperation on all issues?
A: It depends. But we hope they will abstain from making this irresponsible step.
Q: Some people would say that is a threat.
A: Some people? Where are they?
Q: There have been accusations that the use of these drones against civilian infrastructure and residential buildings is a violation of international humanitarian and human rights law. How does Russia respond to those accusations?
A: I think these accusations have been repeatedly debunked inadvertently by Ukrainians themselves. They have to admit that the drones are performing high-precision strikes. In the occasions when civilian objects are hit, there is almost always an explanation – either it was a Ukrainian stray air defense missile or somebody tried to hit this drone from an automated gun and then it declined from its destination. You have enough proofs like this on the Internet. So we perform high-precision strikes. I think that paying attention to this side of the story while paying no attention to continuous shelling of residential areas in Donetsk, Lugansk regions, and in the south of Ukraine from artillery provided by the United States and Western countries is a kind of hypocrisy. And that is what Western countries are doing right now.
Q: What is the reaction from the US when you say that it violated the UN resolution by withdrawing from the JCPOA?
A: You know that the United States thinks it has the right to do anything, unlike other countries. So they simply pretend that they do not hear us. When something’s not profitable for them, they play deaf.
Q: You are suggesting that the Iran deal is still alive, but there are pretty much serious concerns…
A: I am not an expert. They are dealing with this in Vienna. I am not involved, but I understand that allegations of this kind can complicate the whole atmosphere and the situation. You don’t need to be an expert to understand this.
Q: Haiti sanctions resolution was up for a vote today, but it has been postponed. What’s Russia’s position?
A: We are studying what the penholders are doing. I think they have some new thoughts. Maybe they will try to make our mood not as gloomy as it is right now.
Q: You do not like the current draft, do you?
A: You have heard my statement in the Security Council. The text has not changed since then. So all the grievances that I expressed are still valid.
Q: Any idea when there might be a vote on the Haiti sanctions resolution?
A: Sorry, we are not the penholders. Hopefully not on Saturday.
Q: Are you going to renew the grain deal?
A: It depends on what we get from this deal. So far we got little.
Q: How do you think the negotiations are going?
A: I would not be too optimistic at this stage. We look at the practical results, and not on some kind of a wishful thinking. And the practical results are very modest, to put it mildly.
Q: Why are you not optimistic?
A: Because the things that were promised to us are not being implemented.
Q: What do you expect from the UN, or the EU, or the US, or other countries to renew it?
A: To implement what was promised to us by the second part of this deal, which is being neglected by Western countries.
Q: Do you think that the sanctions are hindering Russian grain exports?
A: Not the sanctions. I mean not directly. But there are indirect effects of the sanctions, and there is overcompliance by Western companies. Besides, there is clear ‘undesire’ of Western countries to rectify this situation.
Q: What do you want the West to do?
A: We want our part of the deal to be implemented in the same way as the Ukrainian part of the deal, because this is a package, and the Secretary-General said that repeatedly. It is as simple as that.
Q: Could the grain deal be linked to what you just talked about here? You made that ominous warning a moment ago about no longer cooperating with the Secretariat. One of the things the Secretariat thinks it achieved most this year is the grain deal.
A: Thank you for the suggestion. We should think about this. But I do not make a direct link so far. Let’s see what the reaction of the Secretariat will be to this.
Q: UN said that the talks in Moscow last week were positive and constructive. So what led you to…
A: Well, if they can prolong the deal on the basis of this without us, that would have been valid. But unfortunately, it takes two or even three to tango in this regard. And we have our position.
Q: So you are not optimistic.
A: We do not see practical results on the ground so far. If things change…
Q: Ammonia pipeline to be activated from Russia to Ukraine?
A: The most important thing is the export of fertilizers and Russian food products. And there are big reserves in this regard.
Q: But that includes the ammonia. That’s a big question at the negotiations right now.
A: I am not the biggest expert on this. I think ammonia was mentioned. But it was mentioned by the countries that are interested in it.
Q: Russia is interested
A: Not only Russia
Q: You want your ammonia to get out to the global markets.
A: Of course we do. But I do not think this is the core problem.
Q: What’s the core problem?
A: As I told you repeatedly, Western countries do not deliver on the promises that are in this deal.
Q: What particular promises are you talking about?
A: We want to see our foods and fertilizers on the market. And it is not the case. As simple as this.
Q: That is what Rebeca Grynspan is working on. Correct?
A: She is. But we do not see practical results. She can work on it for quite a long time, but we want the results. It’s almost November right now, not June anymore. Unfortunately, it does not work, but we’ll see.
Q: So in terms of the grain deal, it’s up for renewal on November 19. What happens then?
A: I do not know. We still have quite a way to go. But so far we are not convinced. Thank you.