Iran defense minister says NATO missiles harm Turkey security

DUBAI Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:54am EST

1 of 4. A damaged tank is seen at the Free Syrian Army controlled infantry college in the country side in Aleppo December 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

DUBAI (Reuters) - The installation of Patriot anti-missile batteries sent by NATO members to bolster Turkey's defenses against a possible missile attack from Syria will only harm Turkey's security, Iran's defense minister was quoted as saying on Saturday.

NATO approved Turkey's request for the air defense system earlier this month, in a move meant to calm Ankara's fears of being hit by Syrian missiles.

Iran has strongly supported its Arab ally President Bashar al-Assad of Syria as he attempts to suppress a 21-month-old uprising against his rule. Tehran opposes the installation of NATO missiles as Western interference in the region and has said it could lead to a "world war.

"The installation of Patriot missiles in Turkey plays no role in establishing Turkey's security and this harms the country of Turkey," Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Saturday, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA). "The West has always pursued its viewpoints and interests and we disagree with the presence of Western countries in regional interactions."

Vahidi also denied that Iran is training Syrian forces to battle the rebels, ISNA reported. Iran considers itself, Syria's rulers and the Lebanese Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah as part of an "axis of resistance" against U.S. and Israeli power in the Middle East, but has denied accusations that it helping Assad militarily.

"Syria has no need for the training of its forces by the Islamic Republic of Iran, because Syria has a powerful military which has prepared itself for involvement with the Zionist regime (Israel)," Vahidi said.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Comments (4)
tl29szzz920 wrote:
So the Dictatorship of Iran who sends its “Holy Warriors” into Lebanon to build an illegal armed terrorist country within a country, sends money, troops and weapons into Syria to protect another Dictator and help it fight its own people is telling the Turkish people what they need to do. Well I think the Turkish people are smart enough to know exactly what to do, and what Iran has been and is doing. Turkey is a Democracy, and Iran is a dictatorship run by a fascist murderer called by what else, the Ultimate leader. To bad Iran, your losing influence, and your becoming broke as your continue to play games with the UN’s requirements on Nuclear Weapons inspections. But its unfortunate that the good people of Iran are suffering at the hands of the tyrants running the country.

Dec 22, 2012 3:18am EST  --  Report as abuse
assmuncher wrote:
Translation: We don’t like the fact that they can knock our missiles down now.

Dec 22, 2012 5:08am EST  --  Report as abuse
Animated wrote:
how is a civil war in Syria “regional interactions”? If Iran thinks it is ok for it to help Syria…then it is ok for one of Syria’s neighbors to reach out to the international community for help protecting itself.
The Western countries did not just show up at Turkey’s doorstep and say “here’s Patriot missiles we are going to install on your border”…Turkey ASKED for them to be installed because it feared a spillover of the conflict onto its own soil.

Dec 22, 2012 9:22am EST  --  Report as abuse
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