Iran has denied claims that it threatened to hit NATO bases in Turkey, accusing the Western media of trying to spread false information.
A columnist for Lebanese daily al-Akhbar, said to be close to Hezbollah, claimed last week that Iran had threatened Turkey, saying if it were to be used as a platform for NATO action against Syria, Iran would bomb US and NATO bases in Turkey.
“There have been reports that NATO will attack Syria from its bases in Turkey and that Iran has threatened Turkey. These are untrue claims that the Western media is trying to spread,” Ramin Mehmanparast, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, told a news conference in Tehran on Tuesday. His remarks were carried by the Anatolia news agency, which quoted a statement from the Iranian Embassy in Ankara.
Mehmanparast also underlined that Iran and Turkey have very good relations and that they have the potential to go even further with their existing cooperation. He added that NATO was not able to engage itself in a new operation as it already faces problems in Afghanistan.
Syria's brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests has strained Turkey-Syria ties and resulted in more than 10,000 Syrians fleeing to Turkey. Turkey, like many Western countries, has criticized the Syrian response to protests, calling it “savagery,” and called for reforms.
Some suggested that the tension might extend to Turkey-Iran ties as well, given the close links between the Iranian regime and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. However, Mehmanparast called for the strengthening of Turkish-Syrian-Iranian cooperation and spoke against any foreign intervention in the region, noting that the countries in the region would benefit the most if foreign interference is prevented, according to the Iranian Embassy's statement.
“The Turkish officials are wise enough not to engage themselves in games designed by the West,” he was quoted as saying by Tehran Times.