Patriots to protect Israel, says Iranian official
AA PhotoThe deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey is designed to protect Israel from Iranian threats, according to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast.
Speaking to Lebanon's Al-Manar TV station, Mehmanparast said the missiles were "placed by NATO and the West to protect Israel" against possible incoming Iranian missiles.
Iran believes Turkey would not permit its airspace to be used in an attack on the Islamic republic, Mehmanparast said but added that the control of the Patriots was not in the hands of Turkish authorities.
The United States began deploying the missiles in Turkey yesterday, ostensibly to protect the country against any possible threats from neighboring Syria amid the Arab republic’s civil war.
The U.S. will transport around 400 troops to Turkey over the next several days to operate two Patriot batteries. Additional equipment will arrive by sea later in January.
NATO-member Turkey, a one-time Damascus ally, has turned into one of its most vocal opponents over the 22-month civil war in Syria that monitors say has killed about 60,000 people.