Ukraine’s mocking of Iran over drone attack on military factory irks Tehran

Ukraine’s mocking of Iran over drone attack on military factory irks Tehran
An explosion at the Isfahan facility during the attack. / BBC News report, screengrab.
By bne IntelIiNews January 30, 2023

Iran on January 30 summoned Ukraine's charge d'affaires in Tehran over mocking comments made by a Ukrainian official following a weekend drone strike on a military factory in the central Iranian province of Isfahan.

"Explosive night in Iran," the official, Mykhailo Podolyak, tweeted on January 29, the day after the attack, adding: "Did warn you."

Also on January 30, the Russian foreign ministry condemned the drone strike, warning against what it said were "provocative" actions, and cautioning: "Such destructive actions could have unpredictable consequences for peace and stability in the Middle East."

In the wake of the attack on what some unconfirmed reports have described as a facility involved in drone research and production, US officials briefed media that Iran’s arch-foe, Israel, appeared to have been behind the overnight drone strike.

Iran is known to have provided Russia with kamikaze drones that the Kremlin has used in attacks against civilian and military targets in its war in Ukraine, although Tehran has claimed the unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) were delivered before the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in late February nearly a year ago.

On December 24, with Ukraine incensed by the use of Iranian drones in Russian attacks on parts of its critical infrastructure, such as energy plants, Podolyak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, tweeted in Ukrainian: “Iran planning to boost missile, drone supplies to Russia, blatantly humiliates the institution of international sanctions…

“Important to abandon nonworking sanctions, invalid UN resolutions concept & move to more destructive tools – liquidation of plants, arresting of suppliers…”

Podolyak’s December tweet can be read as a warning of attacks like that of the weekend to come.

Iran has claimed the attack was largely foiled, with only minor damage to the roof of one building suffered. Of the three drones involved, one was destroyed by air defence systems and two were caught by "defence traps" but caused the minor damage to the building, according to the Iranian defence ministry.

Israeli media, including The Jerusalem Post, have looked at material posted online that they said indicated that the attack was far more successful than Iran conceded.

Israel, as is usual following such a suspicious attack, stayed mum on whether it was involved.

The same night as the attack on the defence factory, a large fire broke out at an oil refinery near Tabriz. Officials did not offer comment on the cause of the blaze or whether it was regarded as suspicious.