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Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:52PM
Iran Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi (file photo)

Iran Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi (file photo)

Iran defense minister says the deployment of NATO Patriot missiles along the Turkish-Syrian border is not useful and will cause misunderstanding among countries in the Middle East. “We do not consider the presence of these Patriot systems as beneficial and believe that it will cause misunderstanding among the regional countries,” Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said on Saturday. He also described the presence of foreign forces in the region as “not positive” which will not have any good outcome, adding that Iran observes their presence with suspicion. Some 100 NATO Patriot missiles, unloaded at Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Iskenderun earlier in January, are set to be stationed in military bases in the southeastern Turkish provinces of Diyarbakir and Batman. The NATO missile systems are slated to remain in Turkey for a six-month period, which the military alliance may extend. The Turkish people have held several protest demonstrations against the military plan. The Syrian government has also censured the move, calling it another act of provocation from Ankara. Referring to the crisis in Syria, Vahidi pointed out that the only solution to issues in the Arab state is to hold national talks, noting that “intervention of foreign forces in Syria is detrimental.” “Iran’s rationale with regards to this [Syrian crisis] is very clear [as Tehran believes that] the country and the army which is at the forefront of struggles against Israel should not be weakened,” he noted. Syria has been experiencing a deadly unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed in the prolonged turmoil. Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside and that a very large number of the militants operating in the country are foreign nationals. TNP/SS/IS
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