Eritrea denies hosting Iranian forces

Eritrea denies hosting Iranian forces
Sunday 10 May 2009
By Tesfa-alem Tekle
May 9, 2009 (ADDIS ABABA) — Despite growing reports,Eritrea on Friday has denied the presence of any Iranian forces in its soil.
Since November last year opposition websites and a number of western sources have reported that Iranian Revolutionary Guard unities have been heading to the Eritrea’s port town of Assab to establish a military base.
According to these reports, Iran has also anchored submarines and also deployed long-range missiles at the tiny red sea nation, to what the reports reason out was as a strategic preparation to confront in case a possible conflict breaks out with Israel or with the west in connection with Nuclear question, so it would be easy for Tehran to launch a "maritime jihad".
But Yemane, Gebremeskel, Spokesman for Eritrean President Issias Afeworki blasted the reports referring it as "Disinformation campaigns" by Israel.
"Neither Israel nor Iran have bases in Eritrea. More importantly, Eritrea’s long-standing policy is not to provide military bases to any power," said Yemane Gebremeskel.
Yemane termed the reports as "persistent disinformation campaigns by Israeli Intelligence officials."
"Why would Iran deploy troops in Assab? This is a ridiculous story."
Eritrea’s foreign Ministry also denounced the reports.
"The main sources of these relentless vilification campaigns against Eritrea are invariably the key western intelligence sources that have refined the art of disinformation," the ministry said.
It added that Eritrea and Iran had friendly ties. But this is not different from the warm diplomatic ties the nation enjoys with all other countries in the Middle East.
10 percent of the world’s maritime traffic passes through the area, including 25 percent of the world’s oil.