Iran's Foreign Ministry said Sunday it would not "seek permission from anyone" to expand relations with Russia, dismissing U.S. concerns over a growing military partnership between Tehran and Moscow.
Western countries have accused Iran of supplying drones to Russia, allegedly used to attack Ukraine, and slapped sanctions on Tehran, which denies the allegations.
CIA chief William Burns told PBS television on Friday that the military cooperation between Iran and Russia "poses real threats" to U.S. allies in the Middle East.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani called the comments "baseless" and said they were part of a "U.S. propaganda war against Iran."
Tehran "acts independently in regulating its foreign relations and does not seek permission from anyone," Kanani said in a statement on Sunday, adding that Iran's "national interests" dictated its policies.
"Cooperation between Iran and Russia in various fields including defense is expanding within the framework of common interests ... and is not against any third country."
According to Kanani, "American officials continue their baseless political claims and illegal actions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, questioning the conventional defense and military cooperation between Iran and Russia."
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby on Dec. 9 called the Tehran-Moscow military partnership "harmful" to Ukraine, Iran's neighbors, and the world.
Last month, Tehran admitted it had sent drones to Russia but insisted they were supplied before the invasion of Ukraine began in February.