Last updated: 8 September, 2011

Iran ups criticism of Turkey over NATO missile shield

Iran toughened Thursday its criticism of Turkey over its plan to host an early-warning radar as part of NATO’s missile defence system, saying it will create tension and lead to “complicated consequences.”

“We expect friendly countries and neighbours … not to promote policies that create tension, which will definitely have complicated consequences,” foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in remarks carried by the state television website.

“We believe that the installation of some parts of the NATO missile system in Turkey will not help the security and stability of the region at all, nor that of the host country,” Mehmanparast said.

Iran “condemns any action that creates an arms race in the world and region,” he added.

On Monday, Tehran criticised Ankara in a more subtle tone, with a deputy foreign minister saying the missile shield radar would not “improve security in the region.”

“Iran and Turkey are two friendly neighbouring nations … and have the ability to fully preserve their own security without any foreign intervention,” said Hassan Ghashghavi, deputy minister for consular affairs.

Leaders of the 28-member NATO alliance gave their backing last year for the Europe-wide ballistic missile shield — which US officials say is aimed at thwarting missile threats from the Middle East, particularly Iran.

The remarks came after Ankara announced that technical negotiations on the deployment of the NATO radar had “reached a final stage.”

“It is foreseen that the early warning radar system dedicated by the United States to NATO will be deployed in our country,” Selcuk Unal, spokesman for the Turkish foreign ministry, said on Friday.