Iran Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi has dismissed recent allegations by his American counterpart that Iran is involved in arms smuggling to destabilize the Middle East. In response to US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s allegations, Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said on Sunday that Iran’s Islamic revolution is a cultural and spiritual one which does not require “arms smuggling and illegal measures” to convey its message. On Saturday, Panetta accused Iran of having launched a campaign to destabilize the Middle East by smuggling weapons to militants in the region.
“These baseless allegations are ridiculous projection that cannot mask the countless atrocities committed by the US in different regions of the world, especially in the Middle East,” the general added.Vahidi noted that the massive volume of weapons smuggled by the US into Syria, including the so-called manpads (man-portable air-defense systems) used by armed militants, is a clear example of Washington’s efforts to destabilize the region. Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence. The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals. The US and its allies, who are supporting the anti-Damascus militants with funds and weaponry, continue to demand the downfall of the President Bashar al-Assad's government. PG/HGH/SS