Iran issues stark warning as Biden visits region

TEHRAN, Jul. 13 (MNA) – As the US president prepares to visit the West Asia region, Iran ramps up warnings of a US-led plan to build a regional air defense system widely seen as being directed against Iran.

President Biden’s visit will take place on July 13-16. Ahead of the visit, there is a wave of media speculations about a US plan to create a regional air defense system that includes Israel and its onetime archrival Arab states. The US has officially acknowledged that it is making efforts in that regard. 

John Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications at the US National Security Council, has said that the US is in talks with countries in the West Asia region to integrate their air defenses.

“Bilaterally we're talking with nations across the region about air defense capabilities specifically and what we can do to assist with their defense and then, exploring the idea of being able to kind of integrate all those air defenses together,” Kirby told reporters. 

With US officials formally talking of a defense structure in the region, Iran moved to warn against this effort because it believes that the US-led defense system will be a threat to its interests. 

Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, has said raising the issue of that system is provocative and the Islamic Republic considers the statement a threat to its national security and also regional security.

He said the fact that the US raises and pursues such issues without correctly understanding the realities of the region and merely for the purpose of portraying Iran as a threat and sowing division in the region shows that what matters for Washington is its own illegitimate interests and putting the Zionist regime on life support.

Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, went further to say that the US move to establish a defense system against Iran in the Persian Gulf amounted to the mistake it made in expanding NATO to the East, which led to the Ukraine war. 

Qalibaf said the US is being misled by Israel into repeating that mistake. “Evidence available to us shows that this trip has been fully arranged by the Zionists (Israelis) and that the US president is implementing agendas and projects that the Zionist regime, which is the biggest enemy of the region’s nations, has outlined and dictated in full detail. Turning into an executive of Israeli policies in the region will be a historic and strategic mistake on the part of the US president, one which will be detrimental to the Biden administration before anyone else,” Qalibaf was quoted as saying by Iran’s state news agency IRNA.

He added, “Indiscretion in expanding NATO to the East and ignoring potent geopolitical warnings in that regard led to the start of the Ukraine war. Now the same indiscretion is taking place in the sensitive region of the Middle East [West Asia] and the Persian Gulf.”

The speaker said Israel is stuck in a well and tries to bring the US and other countries down to that well.  

Seyed Reza Sadr al-Hosseini, an Iranian expert on the region, has said the US is seeking to set up a “big Arab army” whose command-and-control room will not be in the Arab countries. According to the expert, the US wants that room to be in Israel instead. Sadr al-Husseini made the remarks in an interview with the state news agency IRNA. 

First published in Tehran Times

News Code 189032


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