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Two years into Ukraine war, Iran continues to play Russia enabler

Mounting international pressure and onerous sanctions do not seem to have deterred Tehran from its increasing involvement in the Ukraine war, as the Islamic Republic heavily invests in its alliance with Russia for survival.
This photograph taken on January 17, 2024 shows destroyed cars in the courtyard of a residential building following a drone attack in Odesa. Kyiv said on Jan. 17, 2024 that Russia had launched 20 Iranian-designed attack drones at targets in southern Ukraine overnight, and that its air defense systems destroyed all but one.

TEHRAN — Repeating Russia's euphemistic official line from the very outset of the Ukraine war, Iran hailed the "special operation," sending a clear signal to the outside world that it will be one of the few nations to stand by the Kremlin. 

Iranian authorities, and most notably Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, touted the invasion as a wise strategy to thwart "NATO's expansionist policies" in the region. 

At a moment of unprecedented international isolation, Russian President Vladimir Putin was welcomed in a Tehran visit in July 2022, where he was applauded by Khamenei for taking "initiative in Ukraine." 

But Tehran's backing was not limited to the moral and rhetorical. Reports indicating that the Iranians had shipped hundreds of combat drones to Russia emerged, one after another. Ukrainian officials and Western intelligence sources maintain that varying versions of Iranian-made Shahed drones are being extensively used by the Russian military in the deadly conflict, while plans are also in the works by Tehran to build a drone production facility in Russia. 

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