Iran's Raisi says enemies can die of anger after call for Ukraine drone investigation

Tehran claims comments by E-3 group of countries are 'false and baseless'

President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran was now a popular prospective exporter of weapons during a speech on Saturday. Iranian Presidency Office/AP
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Iran "strongly condemned" a call by France, Germany and the UK for the UN to investigate accusations that Russia has used Iranian-origin drones to attack Ukraine, its foreign ministry said on Saturday.

Iran denies supplying drones to Moscow in the Ukraine war.

In a speech on Saturday, President Ebrahim Raisi said the country was now a popular prospective exporter of weapons.

"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 said of his recent travels aborad, including to the UN General Assembly in New York.

He said Iran's enemies "do not want us to grow ... to conquer markets".

"Let the enemy get angry and die of anger," Mr Raisi said.

Iran foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani called the comments from the three European countries, known as the E-3 group, "false and baseless" on Friday.

Iran "strongly rejected" the call for an investigation, Mr Kanaani said.

A drone is launched during a military exercise in Iran in August. Reuters

Ukraine has accused Russia of using Iranian-made Shahed-136 attack drones that fly towards their target and explode on impact.

Russia said its forces did not use Iranian drones to attack Ukraine.

"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," Mr Kanaani said in comments published on the Iranian foreign ministry's website.

"It will not hesitate to defend the interests of the Iranian people."

In a letter signed by their UN envoys and seen by Reuters, the three European countries backed Ukraine's call on Monday for a UN probe.

The letter said the drone use breached a UN Security Council Resolution endorsing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Updated: October 22, 2022, 12:57 PM