The supreme leader accuses Washington of starting the war and says it benefits US arms manufacturers.
Tehran, Iran – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says the United States is not interested in ending the war in Ukraine, which he says was sparked by the Western military alliance.
“The US actually started the war in Ukraine,” he said during a speech in Mashhad on Tuesday. “The US created the grounds for this war to expand NATO in the east.”
“Now the US is also benefiting most from the war in Ukraine,” Khamenei said. “The poor people of Ukraine are facing problems, and arms manufacturers in the US are reaping the benefits, so they will not agree to end the war.”
The Supreme Leader emphasized Tehran’s position that it did not participate in the war, denying Western claims that Iran supplied armed drones that Russia used in the conflict.
Western governments have imposed many rounds of sanctions on Iranian entities and officials in recent months over allegations of arming Russia.
Khamenei had told Vladimir Putin during a trip to Tehran in July that NATO would have started the war had the Russian president “not taken the initiative”.
The Iranian leader spoke on Tuesday when Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Moscow to hold talks with Putin. Xi has proposed a political settlement for years of war.
As Xi and Putin held a second day of talks, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned China against supplying arms to Russia.
The US and Europe have expressed skepticism about China’s peace plan, with US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby saying the call for a ceasefire is “unacceptable” under the current circumstances.
China earlier this month brokered a long-awaited deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia that is expected to result in the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two rivals after seven years within weeks. In the process, Beijing has positioned itself as a new political power in the region.
Iran seeks to improve its political and economic relations with both Moscow and Beijing as tensions with the West continue to rise due to the war in Ukraine, stalled talks to restore the 2015 nuclear deal and nationwide anti-government protests in September.
During Tuesday’s speech, Khamenei acknowledged that ties with the West are increasingly fading, but said Tehran was seeking allies elsewhere.
“Yes, our relations with the Westerners had weakened. We had no relations with the Americans and our relations with Europe were weakened. But we have strengthened our relations with Asia 100 percent and we will continue like this,” he said.