Since dawn on Thursday, February 24, 2022, the world has focused on Russia’s war of occupation in Ukraine. In such circumstances, Tehran is trying to exploit the situation, especially when it comes to nuclear talks in Vienna.
Seventy-seven years after the end of World War II, a new era has begun, and the theocracy in Iran is trying in vain to adjust to evolving realities. This is while the helpless people of Ukraine, mainly civilians, have been essentially abandoned by the rest of the world. Western governments have limited their actions to several sanctions, refusing to provide practical and meaningful support.
The ayatollahs believe that an easy victory for Russia would strengthen their position in negotiations about revitalizing the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). High-ranking officials of the regime have expressed their support for Russia’s attack.
In contrast, the Iranian people, and their organized Resistance in the coalition of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has strongly condemned the war of occupation in Ukraine. “Attack on Ukraine and the war of occupation is condemned,” the NCRI stated on February 25.
Iranian Officials Support Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian laid blame on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for the attack, hoping to secure broader support by Russia during the nuclear negotiations in Vienna.
“The Ukraine crisis is rooted in NATO’s provocations,” Abdollahian tweeted on February 24. Although Abdollahian ridiculously paid lip service to “a political solution,” he is well-known as a protégé of the former chief warmonger of the regime and commander of the Quds Force—the extraterritorial arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—Qassem Soleimani.
“NATO’s expansion to the east is provocative,” said Iranian regime President Ebrahim Raisi, who is infamous for his involvement in the mass killing of thousands of political prisoners in Tehran’s prisons in the summer of 1988.
In a desperate, pathetic, and revolting political act, Raisi stands alongside the Russian President even though Vladimir Putin deeply humiliated him during his trip to Moscow last January. At the time, a seminary instructor, Rahmatollah Bigdeli, joined many other regime officials and media outlets to criticize Raisi for his embarrassing trip to Russia. Bigdeli tweeted on January 20:
“The achievements of Raisi’s trip to Russia:
- Visiting Putin from a few meters away!
- Appreciating Putin for Iran’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
- Putin notes: Iran is only an observer member in Shanghai Cooperation Organization, not an actual member!
- Praying at the Kremlin!
- Lecture in the Duma
- Honorary Ph.D.
- Denial of contract!”
However, the Raisi government’s support for Russia’s invasion prompted criticism inside Iran, even among some of the regime’s own officials. For instance, former Parliament [Majlis] Deputy Speaker Ali Motahari described the regime as a Russian colony, calling on authorities to condemn the attack.
“Iran should condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to show its independence. Currently, the [state-run broadcaster] reports as if Iran is one of Russia’s colonies,” he tweeted.
Furthermore, several officials declared their concerns about the invasion’s consequences on nuclear negotiations. “While the war in Ukraine continues with intensity, it will overshadow negotiations in Vienna. Therefore, the only loser country would be Iran,” said Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, the former chair of the Parliament [Majlis] Security and Foreign Policy, on February 25.
“At least, learn from the Taliban,” said Etemad daily, affiliated with the ‘reformists’ faction on February 26. It mocked Raisi and his foreign minister by saying: “How can Amir-Abdollahian not know that a country cannot attack another sovereign country by artilleries and tanks even if NATO provoked it. Most importantly, doesn’t he know that such empathetic remarks for Russia can negatively impact Iran’s position in nuclear negotiations?”
“Worse, who has told Raisi to call Putin? OK, call the president that is under attack at least. If the latter call was unnecessary, you should not say that ‘I hope this invasion ends for the benefit of regional nations.’ Which war or invasion has ended in favor of nations?” the daily added.
“Putin, the hero of Ukraine quagmire,” was the headline in Arman Meli, another ‘reformist’ paper, on the same day. “It’s tragic that Iran thinks it has to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—directly or indirectly—due to its anti-Western policies, and justifies it as a ‘special operation,’ providing logistic for Russia.”
“In such circumstances, Iran’s national security is at serious risk, and the events of September 1949 may repeat in other forms. Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine is by no means justified under international law,” wrote Ali Khorram, the former ambassador to the UN in Vienna.
In a nutshell, the theocratic regime in Iran hoped to gain further concessions internationally following the Ukraine crisis. But its attempts failed.
The courageous resistance of the Ukrainian people and their elected leaders has shown that autocrats and aggressive states only understand the language of power and firmness.
Authoritarian regimes see the appeasement policy as a rolled-out red carpet for new atrocities and breaching of long-standing international norms. As the Ukrainian people’s resistance prompted solidarity and sympathy across the globe, the people of Iran also expect Western leaders to recognize their struggle for freedom and democracy against the world’s foremost state-sponsor of terrorism.
“Democracy #demo4democracy There is no democracy without democrats. Get involved and use the freedoms that democracy offers you to express your support and solidarity. Start ‘democracy,’ a demonstration for democracy, against war, for a peaceful and free future of our continent,” tweeted Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv and a former professional boxer, on February 25.
Similarly, there are many democrats and freedom-loving individuals around the globe that are standing with the Iranian people in their struggle to overthrow the tyrannical regime in Tehran.