A key aide to Iran’s supreme leader said on Oct. 8 Turkey must radically rethink its policies on Syria, the NATO missile shield and promoting Muslim secularism in the Arab world – or face trouble from its own people and neighbors, Reuters reported.
In an interview with the semi-official Mehr news agency, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s military adviser described Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s invitation to Arab countries to adopt Turkish-style democracy as “unexpected and unimaginable”.
Turkey and Iran, the Middle East’s two major non-Arab Muslim states, are vying for influence in the Arab world as it goes through the biggest shake-up since the Ottoman Empire fell, a rivalry that has strained their previously close relations.
While cheering crowds greeted Erdoğan on his recent tour of North Africa, Tehran accused him of serving U.S. interests by opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on street protests and agreeing to NATO’s missile defence.
“The behavior of Turkish statesmen towards Syria and Iran is wrong and, I believe, they are acting in line with the goals of America,” Major-General Yahya Rahim-Safavi told Mehr. “If Turkey does not distance itself from this unconventional political behavior it will have both the Turkish people turning away from it domestically and the neighboring countries of Syria, Iraq and Iran [reassessing] their political ties.”
Turkey’s decision to deploy a NATO missile early warning system that has most angered Tehran, which sees this as a U.S. ploy to protect Israel from any counter-attack should Israel target Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Rahim-Safavi said trade ties with Turkey – which is an importer of Iranian gas and exporter of an array of manufactured goods – would be in jeopardy if Ankara does not change tack.
“If Turkish political leaders fail to make their foreign policy and ties with Iran clear, they will run into problems. If, as they claim, they intend to raise the volume of contracts with Iran to the $20 billion mark, they will ultimately have to accommodate Iran.”
A senior military commander says Iran’s air defense units have been equipped with advanced radars capable of detecting unmanned drones, Associated Press reported.
Gen. Farzad Esmaeili says Iran in the past was unable to detect small drones but can now trace and shoot them down over its airspace. He made the comment in an interview with the official IRNA news agency Oct. 8. Esmaeili is commander of the Khatam-ol-Anbia Air Defense Headquarters.