Ahmad Vahidi

Iran’s Defence Minister says the deployment of NATO Patriot missiles in Turkey is not in the that country’s interest and will threaten Turkish security.

ISNA reports that Ahmad Vahidi said on Saturday that the presence of “foreign, Western” forces will create tension and problems among Islamic countries, adding: “The deployment of Patriot Missiles will not create security and will also harm Turkey.”

He said the West is only looking after its own interests, adding that the Islamic Republic has always opposed Western interference in regional issues.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, responded to the Iranian criticism by insisting that the installment of Patriot missiles is aimed at protecting Turkish territory. He emphasized that, as a NATO member, Turkey has sought the support of the alliance to protect its borders.

Turkey requested the installment of patriot missiles in response to tensions along its border with Syria. Several Iranian officials have spoken out against the move. Turkey says Iran should use its influence with the Assad regime to end the violence.

Iran’s Defence Minister reacted to a report in a Turkish daily claiming that Iran is training Syrian military forces, saying: “Syria has no need for training by the Islamic Republic of Iran because Syria has a powerful military that has been prepared for confrontation with the Zionist regime.”

He added that Syria is currently dealing with certain internal problems that stem from “ the presence of terrorist groups and actions” in that country.