Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi has warned that the deployment of NATO’s advanced surface-to-air Patriot missiles along the Turkish border with Syria would be detrimental to Turkey.
“The deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey will play no role in [maintaining] Turkey’s security and this will be harmful to Turkey,” Vahidi said on Saturday.
He added that the presence of Western foreign forces in Muslim countries has always caused problems and conflict among them.
The Iranian minister emphasized that Western countries have always sought to guarantee their own interests and said “We are against the presence of Western countries in regional interactions.”
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Patriot missiles will be deployed near the southeastern cities of Adana, Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras.
Despite strong opposition from Russia, Syria and Iran, NATO approved Turkey’s formal request for the missile system on December 4 to defend its border with Syria.
All the six Patriot batteries, which will be under NATO command and control, are scheduled to be operational near the Turkish-Syria border by the end of January 2013.
The US, the Netherlands and Germany have agreed to send two missile batteries each to Turkey along with around 400 troops from each country to operate the systems.