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Eritrea denies hosting Iranian forces

Article published on the 2009-05-08 Latest update 2009-05-08 16:56 TU

Eritrean street(Photo : Olivier Rogez/RFI)

Eritrean street
(Photo : Olivier Rogez/RFI)

Eritrea has said Iran has no military bases on its soil, despite reports from media organisations, including RFI. They said Iranian troops are stationed at Assab port, near a strait which leades into the Gulf of Aden.

Eritrea claims that the reports are based on "disinformation campaigns" by Israel.

Yemane Guebremeskel, a spokesperson for Eritrean President Issias Afeworki, said, "neither Israel nor Iran have bases in Eritrea. More importantly, Eritrea's long-standing policy is not to provide military bases to any power."

RFI reported on Thursday that since December, Iranian Revolutionary Guard units have been heading to Eritrea. RFI also said that according to a number of western sources, boats and a submarine have been anchored in the port of Assab.

10 per cent of the world's maritime traffic passes through the area, including 25 per cent of the world's oil.

The RFI report also says that "Iran has not chosen the port of Assab randomly. In case of a conflict with the West about the nuclear question, Tehran would be in a position to carry out a 'maritime jihad'."