London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Syria has confirmed, while Iran has denied statements by Israeli officials that Tehran has set up sophisticated monitoring stations in Syria during the past months to intercept military communications in Israel.
While Muhammad Habash, chairman of the Syrian parliament’s Syrian-Iranian relations committee, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “the existence of these platforms is not a secret and Syria is doing everything that its duty requires to defend its territories and seeks the assistance of the appropriate military expertise”, the media adviser at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus denied these reports in a telephone contact with Asharq Al-Awsat and asked, “How can Iran set up these stations in Syria? Which company did this?”
Habash told Asharq al-Awsat that the “existence of these platforms is not a secret and Syria is doing everything that its duty requires to defend its territories and seeks the assistance of the appropriate military expertise. There are no secrets in this matter. It is Syria’s duty to defend itself and we are still in a state of war with Israel and must defend our borders with all possible means, means which are within the framework of international law. Therefore what Syria is doing is totally in accord with its responsibilities. Syria’s cooperation with Russia, China, and Iran is real and within the framework of protecting Syrian borders. We in fact do not faith in and do not trust the Israeli side at all. It is our right to exercise our role of defending our country.”
The Syrian official went on to say, “I am glad that the Israelis have brought this up though I want to tell them they do not know exactly what the Syrians have. What they are expecting is probably much less than what has been prepared in Syria for confronting any stupidity which the Israelis might make.” Asked if this Syrian-Iranian cooperation falls within the context of Syrian apprehension of possible escalation during the coming months or whether there is specific information that led to this cooperation, he said: “The problem with the Israeli side is that its calculations are not always the result of correct studies. Its entry into Lebanon was the result of recklessness. The war decision was taken within 48 hours. In fact, we fear Israeli stupidities and do not have the confidence that the Israelis are drawing up the correct strategies.”
But the media adviser at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus denied these reports and said, “This is not the first time that the Israeli sources give false reports. They always spread false reports when they reach a stage in which they do not achieve results. How can Iran set up these stations in Syria? Which company did this? We do not have the resources to do this in Syria. The Western media uses the cooperation between private Iranian and Syrian companies in the fields of land-based and cellular telephones to say there is monitoring equipment.” The Iranian official added: “Even if Syria built monitoring station, it is still its right, exactly as Israel does. But I have not heard of this or believe it happened. One other thing: Why does Syria ask Iran to build these stations for it? Syria has the resources, so why does it take from Iran?”
Asked if the two sides recently launched cooperation in the field of communications, the Iranian official said, “No, nothing happened. There are active Iranian companies in Syria. The most important thing is the cars, cement, and electricity industry. There is talk about cooperation in various fields, among them cooperation in the field of communications. The cellular phones companies in Iran and Syria are private ones while the building of monitoring stations is not done by a private company. A governmental one must do it.”