Let ’em come: Defiant Iran challenges Israel

Let ’em come: Defiant Iran challenges Israel

ipek.yezdani@hurriyet.com.tr ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Let ’em come: Defiant Iran challenges Israel

This file photo shows members of the Iranian Army march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq War. REUTERS photo

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi responded fiercely to Israel’s testing of an advanced ballistic missile yesterday, saying the country was “always ready for war.”

Israeli defense officials said the military successfully test-fired an advanced missile from a base outside of Tel Aviv yesterday. Foreign news reports said the test involved firing a long-range Jericho missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and striking Iran.

“Iran has always been threatened by Israel. This is not new for us. We have been hearing threats from Israel for eight years. Our nation is a united nation. Its roots are deep in history. Such threats are not new to us,” Salehi told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday on the sidelines of the Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan, adding that if any country tried to insult Iran, it would respond very fiercely.

“We are very confident of ourselves. We can defend our country,” he said.

‘Iran, Turkey and Syria belong to same family’

“Iran, Syria and Turkey are members of the same family. If a member of a member falls into a problem, the other member of the family helps him,” Salehi said regarding the impact of Turkey’s tense relations with Syria and Turkey’s relations with Iran.

He said Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad had promised to meet the demands of his people and that the Syrian issue should be dealt with “patiently.”

“Assad promised to meet the demands of his people. He has promised constitutional reforms,” he said, adding that the leader had promised to hold multi-party parliamentary elections. “President Assad has promised to meet the [people’s] promises. We have to be patient. With patience, many things can be solved, especially in the Middle East.”

‘We have the best relations with Turkey’

Iran and Turkey have “the best of relations,” Salehi said, adding that this was why he had come to Turkey for the third time in the last eight months.

“We are always in constant consultation with my fond brother [Foreign Minister Ahmet] Davutoğlu. Turkey and Iran are two important countries in the region. Our bilateral relation is independent from international issues,” he said.