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Iran Seeks Naval Bases in the Region, Flirts with Turkey - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London- Iran seeks to establish naval bases in Syria and Yemen, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hussain Baqari uncovered on Saturday.

In an address to a gathering of senior Navy commanders in Tehran, Baqari said: “Having naval bases in remote distances is not less valuable than nuclear power. It is ten times more important and creates deterrence.”

The chief of staff said Iran’s navy should have a fleet in the Indian Ocean similar to the one stationed in the Sea of Oman. “At some point we will need bases on the shores of Yemen and Syria,” he said.

Baqari called on supporting the budget of the military forces to enhance Iran’s navy. “There is no balance between Iran and other states at the level of naval forces,” he said.

Baqari’s comments coincided with assertions launched by Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan who confirmed a Russian report saying Moscow and Tehran were in talks over arms deals worth $10 billion.

Dehghan hinted that Tehran was interested to buy Russian Sukhoi Su-30 fighter planes.

Two weeks ago, Russian media outlets had quoted Russian Federal Council’s defense committee chairman, Viktor Ozerov as saying that Iran had presented an order book to receive a $10 billion worth of weapons and hardware.

The arms in question include T-90 tanks, artillery systems, and various aircraft, but Ozerov noted that until 2020, deliveries could only be made with the consent of the U.N. Security Council.

Commenting for the first time on Ozerov’s statements, Dehghan said Iran would provide the needs of its military forces from any party, excluding the U.S. and Israel.

In Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday called for greater cooperation between Iran and Turkey to help establish stability in Syria and Iraq.

After receiving visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Rouhani said: “If major regional powers stand together, problems in Iraq and Syria will be resolved without the need for foreign powers.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign ministry denied reports saying that the U.S. and European countries had exerted pressure to convince Tehran reduce its heavy water storage.