TEHRAN - Iranian lawmaker Vahid Ahmadi warned that if NATO stations Patriot missiles on the Turkey-Syria border, it could fuel an "arms race" in the region, Press TV reported Sunday.
Iranians' reiteration of their concerns over NATO's missile deployment in Turkey came after both Turkish and NATO officials emphasized over the past days that the air defense system would only serve as a defense mechanism against the possible offensive from Syria on the NATO member state.
According to Press TV, Ahmadi, a member of Iran's Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said that regional countries regard the NATO move as "a threat" and this decision might be followed by a response by Russia to send Iskander missiles to Syria.
Ahmadi said the presence of foreign forces in Muslim countries has always "caused problems" among Muslim states.
The deployment of Patriot missiles is also "harmful" to Turkey and would not ensure its security, Ahmadi said, adding that the West seeks its own interests through the presence of NATO forces in the region and "does not recognize" the interests of other countries.
NATO recently approved to send six Patriot missile batteries from the United States, Germany and the Netherlands to Turkey to be operational by the end of January 2013.
On Saturday, another senior Iranian lawmaker said the deployment of NATO's Patriot missiles along Turkey's border with Syria would create insecurity in Turkey, Press TV reported.
"These missiles would not help provide security to Turkey because all the neighbors of Turkey are discontent with the deployment of these missiles," said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of Iran's Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.
The deployment would not serve the interests of Turkey either, he was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the installation of NATO's Patriot missiles in Syria-Turkey border was to the "disadvantage" of Turkey, semi-official ISNA news agency reported.
"The presence of foreign forces in the Islamic states has always caused problems and differences between the Islamic countries," the minister told ISNA.
Vahidi said that installation of NATO's Patriot missiles would have no role in providing security to the region and especially to Turkey, and this is to the "disadvantage" of the Turks, according to ISNA.
By participating in the regional equations, the West means to pursue its own interests and Iran was against the Westerners' involvements in the regional issues, he added.
As the differences between Tehran and Ankara over the missile deployment threaten their relations, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has called on the regional nations and governments to keep more vigilance against what he called "the plots hatched by the enemies to sow discord among the powerful states of the region", semi-official Fars news agency reported Sunday.
Mehmanparast made the remarks Saturday, alluding to the Western policies in the Middle East which, according to him, seek to divide the regional nations and secure their own interests.