Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has accused the United States of starting the war in Ukraine, stating that it benefits US weapons manufacturers. During a speech in Mashhad, Khamenei claimed that the Western military alliance created the grounds for the war to expand NATO in the east. He went on to say that the US benefits the most from the conflict, with weapons manufacturing companies reaping the rewards. However, Khamenei emphasised that Iran has had no participation in the war, denying Western claims that it has supplied armed drones to Russia.
In recent months, Western governments have imposed numerous rounds of sanctions on Iranian entities and officials based on allegations of arming Russia. During a trip to Tehran in July, Khamenei told Vladimir Putin that NATO would have started the war if the Russian president had not taken the initiative. The Iranian leader spoke on Tuesday as Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Moscow to hold talks with Putin. Xi has proposed a political settlement to the yearlong war.
As Xi and Putin held a second day of talks, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned China against supplying weapons to Russia. The US and Europe have expressed scepticism about the Chinese peace plan, with US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stating that its call for a ceasefire under the current circumstances is “unacceptable”. China earlier this month mediated an agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia that is expected to result in the two rivals restoring their diplomatic relations after seven years. In the process, Beijing has positioned itself as a new political power in the region.
Iran is attempting to improve its political and economic relations with both Moscow and Beijing as tensions with the West continue to grow on the back of the Ukraine war, deadlocked talks to restore its 2015 nuclear deal and September’s nationwide anti-government protests. During Tuesday’s speech, Khamenei acknowledged that ties with the West have increasingly faltered, but he said Tehran was finding allies elsewhere. He stated that Iran’s relations with Asia have strengthened by 100%, and it will continue to build these relationships.
In summary, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused the United States of starting the war in Ukraine and benefiting from it through weapons manufacturing companies. He denied Western claims that Iran has supplied armed drones to Russia and emphasised Tehran’s position that it has had no participation in the conflict. As China proposes a political settlement to the yearlong war, NATO warns China against supplying weapons to Russia, and Western governments express scepticism about the Chinese peace plan. Iran is attempting to improve its political and economic relations with Moscow and Beijing as tensions with the West continue to grow.