From Bassem Mrque, AP: Iran lashed out Friday at Turkey for requesting that NATO supply it with Patriot surface-to-air missiles to deploy along the border with Syria, denouncing the step by Ankara as counterproductive.
Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani made the remarks after a visit to Damascus, a show of support by Tehran to its increasingly diplomatically isolated ally.
"The internal crisis in Syria cannot be solved through the deployment of such weapons," Larijani, who is close to the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, said at a news conference in Beirut where he went after leaving Syria.
Turkey’s request earlier this week follows several incidents in which violence has spilled across the border from the civil war in Syria, frequently mortar rounds falling a short distance inside. Patriots would be useful in intercepting ballistic missiles – a much more serious but still hypothetical threat.
NATO said Wednesday it will consider the request "without delay."
The Syrian Foreign Ministry also criticized the Turkish move, calling it "a new provocative step."
Larijani, who met Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus earlier Friday, said Iran was seeking a peaceful solution to the war in Syria.
"The difference between us and the others when it comes to Syria is that the others want to impose democracy through weapons," he said. "Iran cannot accept or support such a way."
"I don’t think democracy can be achieved through rocket propelled grenades," he added.
Update from AFP: Iran’s foreign ministry accused Turkey of aggravating the situation.
"Not only does it not help resolve the situation in Syria but it will also aggravate and complicate the situation," spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, quoted on state television.
"The insistence (of certain countries) to resolve the Syrian crisis through military means is the main cause of tensions and threats in the region," he said.