Iranian President Ebraham Raisi on Monday denied allegations by the United States of providing and help manufacturing weapons to Russia to be used in the latter's conflict in Ukraine, telling US to not interfere in other countries and mind its 'own business'.
On the sidelines of a high-level leaders' meeting at the UN General Assembly, Raisi asserted that Iran was against the war in Ukraine and reiterated offers to mediate the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He acknowledged that Iran has had strong ties with Russia in defence cooperation but denied sending weapons.
"If they have a document that Iran gave weapons or drones to the Russians after the war, then they should produce it," the Iranian President said on allegations raised by the US. His remarks come after five Americans who were held in Iranian custody were freed in a deal with US President Joe Biden as the latter agreed to unlock almost $6 billion in frozen Iranian assets.
In a diplomatic tone, Raisi said that the recent prison exchange and assets release deal with the US could "help build trust" between the two countries who have been hostile to each other for a long time. However, he also said that Iran sought "good relations" with neighbouring countries and American should stop interfering in their matters.
"We believe that if the Americans stop interfering in the countries of the Persian Gulf and other regions in the world, and mind their own business … the situation of the countries and their relations will improve," he said.
Raisi on developments in Middle East
In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) decided to re-establish diplomatic ties with Iran after attacks on their ships for which Tehran was earlier blamed. Saudi Arabia also reached a detente with Iran after years of tense relations with Chinese mediation, leading to Iranian Foreign Minister's visit to Riyadh.
Raisi, during the latest interaction with media, warned other countries to refrain from getting too close to US ally Israel, saying that normalisation of relations with the Jewish country "does not create security".
He also dismissed Western criticism of Iran's nuclear program and his government's crackdown on widespread protests by women triggered by the custodial death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for allegedly violating the country's strict hijab rules. Iranian authorities term the protests as Western-incited riots.
The Iranian President also slammed the media for focusing too much on demonstrations in his country while ignoring the deaths of people by American police. "The issue(s) of women, hijab, human rights and the nuclear issue are all pretexts by the Americans and Westerners to damage the Islamic republic as an independent country," he said.
Earlier this year, the Iranian government sentenced two woman journalists to a three-year imprisonment on charges of conspiracy and collusion. The journalists were identified as Negin Bagheri and Elnz Mohammadi.
(with AP inputs)