DM: Iran Not to Allow NATO Forces' Presence in Region
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani stressed that the Islamic Republic will not allow the presence of NATO forces in the region, and said that Tehran will not accept any changes in the regional geopolitics.
Referring to the intervention of the US into Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and the speculations raised regarding the the entry of NATO forces in this region, Ashtiani said that Iran would never accept the interference of any outsider forces in the region's issues.
"Our efforts are to solve the issues ourselves with the interactions of the regional countries, he added.
Regarding the recent conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the presence of Iranian forces on the border with these countries, he said that "we do not accept any changes in the geopolitics of the region".
"We maintain our relationship and interactions with Armenia and Azerbaijan and these countries are our neighbors and brothers, we try and help to solve their problems," he added.
In relevant remarks last month, General Ashtiani had said that the NATO provocations and expansionist approach to the East are the root causes of the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev, and said that Tehran supports all diplomatic attempts aimed at putting an end to the bloody crisis.
Brig. Gen. Ashtiani made the remarks in a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin.
The Iranian defense chief stressed the expansionist attitude of the NATO into Eastern Europe regardless of the regional countries' concerns is the root cause of the war between Russia and Ukraine.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran supports any diplomatic effort that leads to the peaceful settlement of the conflicts in Ukraine," he pointed out.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Ashtiani pointed to the two countries' common stance on many regional and international issues, stating that Belarus has a special place in Iran's foreign policy.
He added that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's talks with senior Iranian officials in Tehran in March and his meeting with Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei indicate the significance of Minsk in Tehran's foreign policy.
During Lukashenko's state visit to Tehran, Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi and his Belarusian counterpart signed eight agreements on various fields, including trade, transportation, agriculture and mining, under a cooperation roadmap which marked 30 years of diplomatic relations between the two counties.
Ayatollah Khamenei also told the Belarusian president that those countries that have been put under unilateral sanctions by the United States and its Western allies must join hands to destroy those bans.
Referring to defense cooperation between Tehran and Minsk, Ashtiani said, "Making use of the two countries' capabilities and capacities and defense synergies will establish peace, stability and security in the region."
He reaffirmed the determination of the two countries' top officials to improve the level of bilateral cooperation in various areas as a strategic principle to overcome the West's sanctions policy against independent states, including Iran and Belarus.
The Iranian defense minister added that the global developments over the recent years indicate that the world is moving towards a new geometry and international order.
In this new world order, he stated, independent countries refuse to accept a unipolar system and seek to play a greater role in global management.
Khrenin, for his part, said his current visit to Tehran would provide the two countries with an opportunity to deepen mutual relations and help them achieve common goals.
He added that the defense ministries of Iran and Belarus can use their capacities to strengthen defense and military cooperation and expand ties in issues of common interest.
The defense chiefs of Iran and Belarus also signed a memorandum of understanding to improve cooperation in the defense sector.
NATO has undergone several waves of expansion between 1999 and 2020, swallowing up every former member of the defunct Soviet-led Warsaw Pact, three ex-Soviet republics and four republics from the former Yugoslavia. The expansion took place despite former US Secretary of State James Baker's verbal promise to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 not to expand the alliance “one inch” East of the territory of the former East Germany following that country’s annexation by the Federal Republic.
In 2008, NATO recognized the aspirations of the pro-Western governments of Ukraine and Georgia to see their countries join the alliance, sparking serious security concerns from Moscow. Tensions between Russia and the West were exacerbated in 2014, after the Ukrainian government was overthrown in a coup d’état orchestrated by Washington, and the post-coup government in Kiev reiterated its ambitions join the European Union and NATO.
In Late February 2022, President Vladimir Putin stated in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.
Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi has cautioned that the expansion of the NATO is a serious threat to the stability and security of nations.
He described NATO's expansionist policies as one of the causes of insecurity and instability in different parts of the world and stated, "As foreign policy thinkers, advise politicians and statesmen so that the people of different parts of the world do not bear the cost of their mistakes".
In a meeting with President Putin in Tehran in July 2022, Ayatollah Khamenei slammed the NATO as dangerous entity that knows no borders and boundaries and had to be stopped in Ukraine.
“War is a harsh and difficult reality, and the Islamic Republic will in no way be happy if it entangles ordinary people,” the Leader said.
The Supreme Leader emphasized that the Western powers are opposed to the existence of a strong and independent Russia, arguing that the NATO is a dangerous creature, and if the path before it is left open, it realizes no borders and boundaries.
“If NATO’s path had not been blocked in Ukraine, a while later on pretext of the Crimean Peninsula they would have begun the same war,” he added.