(Adds quote from Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu)
DUBAI, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Iran said Turkey's plans to deploy
Patriot defensive missiles near its border with Syria would add
to the region's problems, as fears grow of the Syrian civil war
spilling across frontiers.
Turkey asked NATO for the Patriot system, designed to
intercept aircraft or missiles, last week after talks about how
to shore up security on its 900-km (560-mile) border.
"The installation of such systems in the region has negative
effects and will intensify problems in the region," Iranian
parliament speaker Ali Larijani said on returning from a trip to
Syria, Lebanon and Turkey on Saturday evening, according to
Iranian state news agency IRNA.
Ramin Mehmanparast, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, told
the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) on Sunday that
deploying the Patriot system "will not only not help solve the
situation in Syria, it will actually make the situation more
difficult and complicated as well".
Syria has called Turkey's request for the Patriot missiles
"provocative", and Russia said the move could increase risks in
Iran has steadfastly supported Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad throughout the 20-month-old uprising against his rule.
Turkey's missile request may have riled Damascus because it
could be seen as a first step toward implementing a no-fly zone
over Syrian airspace.
Syrian rebels have been requesting a no-fly zone to help
them hold territory against a government with overwhelming
firepower from the air, but most foreign governments are
reluctant to get sucked into the conflict.
Turkey fears security on its border may crumble as the
Syrian army fights harder against the rebels, some of whom have
enjoyed sanctuary in Turkey.
Heavy fighting has often erupted along Syria's border with
Turkey. Ankara has scrambled fighter jets and returned fire
after stray Syrian shells and mortar bombs landed in its
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday no
one should be concerned by the use of Patriots.
"These systems are solely defensive mechanisms, and will not
become active unless there is a direct threat to our country's
security," Davutoglu said, speaking to CNN Turk.
"The aim of this action is to protect Turkey's borders as
much as possible at a time of crisis. The Patriots will be sent
back when the risks to Turkey's security disappear."
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati in Dubai, additional reporting by
Ece Toksabay in Istanbul; editing by Andrew Roche)