Iran ‘regrets’ Ukraine move to reduce diplomatic presence

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Iran said Saturday it regretted a decision by Ukraine to reduce its diplomatic presence in Kyiv over alleged arms deliveries to arch-foe Russia.

“Iran expresses its regrets over the decision of the Ukrainian government concerning diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said in a statement.

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“This decision is driven by baseless information provided by foreign media propaganda” against Tehran, he added.

On Friday, Kyiv said one civilian was killed during a Russian drone attack on the Black Sea port city of Odessa and that an Iranian-designed Shahed-136 unmanned vehicle was shot down by Ukrainian forces during the attack.

Ukraine’s army also said Friday it had shot down an Iranian-made Mohajer-6 drone in a second area. Ukraine's foreign ministry said Iran’s charge d’affaires had been summoned and told the supply of Iranian weapons to Russia was “an unfriendly act that deals a serious blow” to bilateral ties.

Ukraine “decided to deprive the ambassador of Iran in Ukraine of accreditation, as well as to significantly reduce the number of diplomatic personnel of the Iranian embassy in Kyiv.”

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman insisted his country followed a “clear policy of active neutrality.” He said that Iran will respond in “an appropriate manner” to the Ukrainian government's move.

Earlier this month, the United States slapped sanctions on Tehran-based firm Safiran Airport Services, accusing it of helping deliver Iranian drones to Russia for use in Ukraine.

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