Thursday, 6 October 2011

Iran disgruntled with Turkey over NATO deal

On Tuesday 4th October, Iran criticised Turkey for agreeing to allow NATO to station an early warning radar in the southeast of the country that will serve as part of the alliance's missile defence system. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the defence system was meant to protect Israel against Iranian missile attacks in the event of war.

Ahmadinejad said: "The missile defence shield is aimed at defending the Zionist regime. They don't want to let our missiles land in the occupied territories (Israel) if one day they take action against us. That's why they put it there."

In September, Turkey and NATO agreed that the former would host the radar as part of NATO's missile defence system aimed at deflecting attacks from Iran. In order to appease its neighbour Turkey said the shield does not target a specific country and added that it would block the deal if Iran was singled-out as a threat.

According to Turkish officials, a military installation in Kurecik in the Malatya province some 700km west of the Iranian border has been designated as the radar site. Ahmadinejad said that Iran has been in talks with the Turkish government and has made its position clear. He said: "We told our Turkish friends that it was not a correct job (decision) they did and that it's to their detriment…Such shields can't prevent the collapse of the Zionist regime."

The radar's positioning in Turkey indicates that its ties with the US are improving since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Turkey also works closely with the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and Libya, albeit it is not directly involved in warfare.

Although Turkey is on good terms with the US, it has in the past taken exception to Washington's stance on the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme, urging a diplomatic solution instead of sanctions.

Sources: Time, Press TV, WSJ, AP

For more news and expert analysis about Iran, please see Iran Strategic Focus.

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