VILNIUS – Sanctions imposed against Iran over supply of weapons to Russia is a message that the European Union (EU) will respond to attempts to help the aggressor wage its war against Ukraine, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has said.
“First of all, it's a very strong political message to Iran and to other would-be supporters of Russian aggression in Ukraine – the ones that probably have been thinking that maybe EU or other allies would not react to them supplying weapons to Russia,” he told CNN on Thursday.
The EU imposed sanctions Thursday against three Iranian generals and an arms firm accused of supplying Iranian drones to Russia that have been used to bomb Ukraine.
Landsbergis said it was necessary to make sure that Iran was unable to produce and send drones to Russia.
“At this point, we made one step but we still have to make sure that Iran is not a participant in this war,” he noted.
Russia “is desperately looking for allies”, the Lithuanian diplomacy chief said reminding of earlier reports that Russia had been approaching even North Korea for missiles and ammunition.
“So obviously, Iran is one of the last friends that Russia has on its side. But we still need to make sure that this friendship does not last,” he stressed.
Landsbergis reminded that Western countries had also slapped sanctions against Belarus for supporting Russia in its war against Ukraine.
“That's why the same rules should apply to everyone, every country, every regime that wishes to support Russia's war effort. If it's Iran, if it's North Korea,” he said.
Russia has in recent weeks stepped up attacks using drones to target infrastructure across Ukraine.
However, Tehran continues to deny supplying Iranian-made Shahed attack drones to Moscow.