Iran rejects missile shield threat against Turkey: FM

By on Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Iran dismissed intimidating remarks by its own officials against Turkey saying Tehran would target NATO’s missile shield in its neighbour if threatened, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported Wednesday.

“We reject those views completely,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salihi told Anatolia in an interview, adding that those who had made the irresponsible statements had been warned.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s official stance on Turkey is based on deep brotherhood and friendship,” he said, adding that only Iran’s supreme leader, president and foreign minister was able to pronounce on Iran’s official attitude on international matters and foreign policy.

“Other statements are considered personal views,” he said.

In November, the commander of the aerospace division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said Tehran would target NATO’s missile shield in neighbouring Turkey’s southern Malatya province if it were threatened by military action.

“We are prepared to first target the NATO defence missile shield in Turkey if we are threatened. And then we’ll move on to other targets,” Amir-Ali Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.

Earlier this month, an Iranian member of parliament, Hussein Ibrahimi said it was Iran’s “right” to hit the missile shield. “Iran will definitely do that,” Turkish media quoted Ibrahimi as telling Iranian daily Sharq.

Turkey in December conveyed its concern about the remarks of the Iranian commander to Salihi.

Turkey last year has agreed to host an early warning radar system in its southeast as part of NATO’s shield which the United States says is aimed at thwarting missile threats from the Middle East, particularly Iran.

Turkish officials insist that the shield targets no specific country.

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