Iran’s foreign ministry on Monday summoned a Ukrainian envoy over comments made by an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that were made after an apparent Israeli drone attack targeted a facility in the Iranian city of Isfahan on Saturday night.
Following the drone attack, Zelensky advisor Mykhailo Podolyak wrote on Twitter, “Explosive night in Iran – drone & missile production, oil refineries. [Ukraine] did warn you.”
According to AFP, the Iranian Foreign Ministry called Podolyak’s comments “strange and biased.” The ministry summoned Ukraine’s charge d’affaires in Tehran for “an official and immediate explanation from the Ukrainian government.”
Both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported that Israel was behind the drone attack on the facility, which Iranian media described as a “military workshop.” The Times cited unnamed senior intelligence officials who said the attack was the work of the Israeli spy agency Mossad.
Israel has a long history of carrying out covert operations inside Iran, including attacks using small quadcopter drones, which were used on Saturday night. But US officials emphasized to the Journal that the attack came as the US and Israel have been discussing ways to counter Iran’s military capabilities and its growing relationship with Russia.
The US wants to disrupt Iranian military supplies to Russia, although Tehran insists it hasn’t provided Moscow with any drones since Ukraine was invaded. US officials told the Times that the Saturday night attack was likely prompted by Israel’s own reasons rather than potential weapons exports to Russia. Either way, the operation risks provoking a wider conflict and comes as tensions between the US and Iran are soaring.
In recent months, the US has ramped up sanctions on Iran, expressed support for protesters inside the country, threatened military action, and stepped up military coordination with Israel. Last week, the US and Israel held their largest-ever joint military drills that included live-fire exercises and involved over 140 aircraft.