14 Dec 2022

New sanctions on Iranians over supply of drones and technology to Russia

6:57 am on 14 December 2022
Nanaia Mahuta

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the supply of weapons technology to Russia is causing death and injury to Ukrainian civilians. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

New sanctions have been imposed on Iranian individuals and an entity involved in the manufacture and supply of drones to Russia.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the sanctions on Iran were because of its "supply of weapons technology to Russia causing death and injury to Ukrainian civilians", and were part of New Zealand's continuing response to the war.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky will speak directly to MPs in New Zealand this morning via a vide link.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and opposition leader Christopher Luxon will then speak in response.

Zelensky was invited to speak following a request from Ukraine's ambassador to New Zealand.

He will become just the second head of a foreign government to address New Zealand's Parliament, after Australia's Julia Gillard in 2011.

"Iran is now the third country to be sanctioned under the Russia Sanctions Act, alongside Russia and Belarus," Mahuta said.

A drone approaches for an attack in Kyiv on 17 October, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A 'kamikaze' drone approaches Kyiv on 17 October, 2022. Photo: AFP/ Yasuyoshi Chiba

"Russia is using drones to target civilian populations in Ukraine, as well as vital infrastructure such as electricity generation and the power grid. The Ukrainian population is struggling with shortages of electricity, heating and water during a harsh winter."

The New Zealand government condemned the "attacks on civilians in Ukraine" and believed "Iranian actions threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine", she said.

"Those sanctioned include two Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders Saeed Aghajani and Amir Ali Hajizadeh; as well as the Armed Forces General Staff chair Mohammad Hossein Bagheri; and drone manufacturer Shahed Aviation Industries."

The sanctions mean those named are subject to asset freezes, travel bans, and restrictions on commercial activity with anyone in New Zealand.

"Today's sanctions against Iran for supply of drones follow separate measures already taken in response to human rights violations in Iran," Mahuta said.

"These include travel bans announced earlier this week, and a rolling series of initiatives to hold Iran to account through multilateral forums like the United Nations," she said.

"The sanctions represent Aotearoa New Zealand's clear condemnation of Iranian involvement in the supply of drones to Russia for use in its unjustified and illegal invasion of Ukraine."

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