Iran claims it monitors US missile shield in Turkey
Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh claimed that Iran is on the alert over the NATO missile battery in Turkey.
"The Turkish officials have assured (us) that the US missile system deployed in the country is no threat to Iran but we monitor them," Hajizadeh said in an interview with the Iran-based Arabic-language al-Alam TV channel on May 25.
He also said that Iran is always fully monitoring the Gulf region to watch for its stability and security, adding that Iran's home-made drones are among the tools used to this end.
Hajizadeh blasted the US and other western states for spreading Iranophobia in the region to sell their arms to the Gulf Arab countries, and said, "The Iranophobia plot is aimed at sowing discord among the regional states to encourage them purchase huge arms cargos (from the West) which eventually leads to the increased production of the western arms manufacturing plants."
He said that the regional states' arms purchases are too much and at a level which cannot be compared to Iran's defense budget.
Hajizadeh had also warned in November 2011 that Tehran would target the NATO missile shield in Turkey in case it comes under attack.
"We have prepared ourselves, if any threat is staged against Iran, we will target NATO's missile shield in Turkey and will then attack other targets," Hajizadeh said at the time.
Iranian officials have called on Turkey to reverse its decision for hosting the missile shield and withdraw from the plan. Tehran officials have repeatedly cautioned Ankara that the system is meant to create a shield for Israel and is thus seen "as a threat to Iran."