Iran repeats warning to Turkey over NATO radar

The Iranian capital has harshly criticized Turkey's decision to host the early-warning radar portion of a NATO missile defense system, saying that such a move will escalate regional tensions.

Iran repeats warning to Turkey over NATO radar

The Iranian capital has harshly criticized Turkey's decision to host the early-warning radar portion of a NATO missile defense system, saying that such a move will escalate regional tensions.

"We expect friendly countries and neighbors ... not to promote policies that create tension and which will definitely have complicated consequences," Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying on Thursday by the country's official news agency, IRNA. Iran "condemns any action that creates an arms race in the world and region," Mehmanparast also said.

The governments of Turkey and the US said on Friday that the radar system will help spot missile "threats" coming from outside Europe, including potentially from Iran. The system, provided by the United States, is to become operational later this year.

On Tuesday Iran's defense minister delivered a similar warning to Turkey, which said Tehran would not tolerate any aggression against its national interests.

"The West claims the radar system [in Turkey] is to confront Iranian missiles but they should be aware that we will not tolerate any aggression against our national interests," Iran's Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi was quoted by state TV as saying. "We regard the presence of America and the West as a troublesome and harmful presence for the Islamic countries," Vahidi said.

In recent years, Turkey has sought stronger ties with fellow Muslim states in the Middle East, including Iran, to rebalance a foreign policy that previously gravitated heavily toward the West. But it recently split with Iran over Syria's violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

Ankara suggests the missile defense system is not aimed at any specific threat or country. "It will strengthen NATO's defense capacity and our national defense system," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said last week, announcing its decision.

Also last week, in Washington, D.C., when asked about the radar's potential focus on Iran, Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said: "We have made no secret of the fact that Iran's missile program is reason for concern. ... But again, the idea is a protective system that would protect those NATO allies from ballistic missile threats emanating from outside [Europe], whether they come from a non-state actor -- whatever the source is," Lapan added.

Turkey has also sought stronger ties with Russia, which has said a NATO missile defense system could threaten its security if it develops the capability to bring down Russian nuclear missiles. However, Russia's NATO envoy said a radar system in Turkey would not threaten Russian security.

Israel and the United States have repeatedly issued threats to attack on Iran.

Cihan

Last Mod: 08 Eylül 2011, 17:54
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