Last Updated on December 29, 2022

A top Ukraine presidential aide called last week for the “liquidation” of Iranian factories making drones and missiles that have been used by Russian forces in Ukraine. Such a move would require the United States and NATO allies to strike weapons factories inside Iran proper, which would lead to another war in the Middle East.

In a tweet posted this past Saturday, top Zelensky aide Mykhailo Podolyak said Iran “blatantly humiliates the institution of international sanctions” before calling for airstrikes on Iranian targets. “Important to abandon nonworking sanctions, invalid UN resolutions concept, & move to more destructive tools – liquidation of plants, arrest of suppliers,” Podolyak continued.

The Ukrainian government has accused Iran of supplying 1700 Shahed-136 loitering munitions to Moscow, which it says have been used to hit targets in Ukraine since September. Iran has denied the allegations, though the presence of said weapons has been evident on the battlefield.

“We reject the accusations of the Ukrainian leadership. We do not take part in the Ukrainian conflict and are ready to help resolve the crisis and establish peace in this country,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said during a press conference on Monday. “We consider threatening rhetoric irresponsible from whichever body it originates.”

Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian did admit in early November that the nation had supplied Russia with drones before the wider conflict erupted.

In a second tweet, Podolyak seemingly called for similar action against North Korea and Belarus. “Iran (drones/missiles), North Korea (ammunition/weapons), Belarus (infrastructure/territory/equipment). Factually and legally confirmed allies of RF in the war of aggression, mass murders of civilians & deliberate destruction of Ukrainian cities. There will be joint accountability,” the top Zelensky aide wrote.

The Ukrainian government has repeatedly called for direct military intervention against Russia or Russian allies by NATO forces. In October, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for “preemptive strikes” against Russia while speaking at a press conference in Australia. This, Zelensky claimed, would prevent a potential nuclear strike from the Kremlin.

“But what is important, I once again appeal to the international community, as I did before February 24 – we need pre-emptive strikes, so that they’ll know what will happen to them if they use nukes, and not the other way around,” Zelensky said when asked about the prospect of a Russian nuclear strike on Ukrainian territory.

“Don’t wait for Russia’s nuclear strikes, and then say, ‘Oh, since you did this, take that from us!’ Reconsider the way you apply pressure. This is what NATO should do – reconsider the order in which it applies pressure [on Russia].”

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