It is time for NATO to confront Iran - by Con Coughlin - for The Gatestone Institute - 17.11.22

For decades Tehran has consistently lied about the true extent of its nuclear ambitions, so it should come as no surprise that Iran's instinctive response when confronted about its military support for Russia has been to issue a denial.


Iran's belated admission that it is actively supporting the Russian war effort is certainly an alarming development, one that completely destroys the argument that Iran's malign activities are solely confined to the Middle East.


The implications of Iran's deepening involvement in the Ukraine conflict can no longer be ignored, as they now constitute a direct threat to European security, a development that NATO leaders need to take on board as a matter of urgency.


NATO has already demonstrated a welcome display of unity in providing vital military support for Ukraine in its battle to defeat Russian aggression. NATO leaders must now take similar measures to support all those states, whether they are in Europe or the Middle East, who want to protect themselves against Iran's intimidating conduct.


Iran's belated admission that it is actively supporting the Russian war effort is certainly an alarming development, one that completely destroys the argument that Iran's malign activities are solely confined to the Middle East.


Iran's belated admission that it has provided Russia with sophisticated drones to boost its war effort in Ukraine should serve as a wake-up call to all those Western policymakers who claim the threat posed by Tehran's aggressive regime is only limited to the Middle East region.


Despite credible reports that Russian forces have been deploying Iranian-made drones to launch attacks against Ukraine's critical infrastructure, inflicting electricity and water shortages on the country's civilian population, Tehran has consistently denied the weapons originated from Iran.


Only last month, Iran's representative to the United Nations strongly denied claims that Iranian drones were responsible for inflicting misery on the Ukrainian people, and insisted that Iran's primary objective was to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict.


"Iran has consistently advocated for peace and the immediate end to the conflict in Ukraine," Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani, permanent representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, told reporters in mid-October, adding that the claims that Iranian weapons were being used were "unfounded and unsubstantiated" and were just part of a "disinformation" campaign the West was mounting against his country.


It was only this month that Tehran finally conceded that it had supplied drones to Russia, on this occasion insisting that the weapons had been sent to Russia prior to Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to launch his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine last February.


The admission that Iran is equipping Russia with drones was made by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian who, responding to mounting evidence of the Iranian-made weapons being used in Ukraine, said Tehran had provided Moscow with a "limited number of drones" months before the war began in Ukraine.


https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/19125/nato-ukraine-iran


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It is Time for NATO to Confront Iran- by Con Coughlin - for The Gatestone Institute - 17
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Con Coughlin is the Telegraph's Defence and Foreign Affairs Editor and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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Pictured: An Iranian-made Shahed-136 suicide drone, deployed by the Russian military, which was shot down by Ukrainian forces near the town of Kupiansk, Ukraine. (Image source: Strategic Communications Directorate of the Ukrainian Armed Forces)




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