Tehran has warned Athens that if it allows the use of US military bases in Greece in a possible aggression against Iran it will be considered as a “hostile act” to which it will respond “in a clear and decisive manner.”
The warning came in a letter sent by the Iranian embassy in Athens to Kathimerini, which was published on January 10 in the column Readers’ Letters. It was commenting on an article published in the newspaper on January 6, which stated that “Greece will have some involvement” in case of a US operation against Iran, “though not with a warship…due to the extremely fragile balance” in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The same article said that the US Armed Forces are boosting their presence in their military base in Souda, Crete.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has made it very clear that in the event of a US-led war against the country, the concession of [military] bases by any country to the American invader will be considered a hostile act and Iran reserves the right to respond in a clear and decisive manner,” the embassy's press office said.
“Given the friendly, traditional and historical relations between the two countries, Iran and Greece, and the absence of any differences or tension between them in recent centuries, we believe that this statement cannot be the official position of the Greek government and our friendly and historical relations will continue in the future,” it added.
In an additional complication in Greek-Iranian relations, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias admitted in a television interview on Saturday that Iran had lodged a demarche to the Greek government over the comments made by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the US assassination of an Iranian general, during his visit to the United States last week.
“Indeed, there has been a protest on the part of Iran,” he told Open TV but claimed he had not seen the text of the demarche at the time.
He also said he was scheduled to speak on the phone with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif later on Saturday, who asked to speak to him.
Asked about Greece's view on the killing of Major General Qassem Soleimani during an event at the Atlantic Forum last Tuesday, Mitsotakis said: “We are allies with the US, so we stand by our allies through difficult times. I understand this particular decision was taken by taking into consideration what is the US national interest and we stand by that decision. At the same time, one needs to be fully aware of the fact that there is broader concern in the region about a possible escalation and I think efforts should be made…to move towards moves that will deescalate the overall tension and hope that this is a message that will be received by everyone.”