Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Iran offers military a hand

Iran offers military a hand

Iran offers military a hand

IRANIAN officials have been visiting Cambodia with proposals to train RCAF staff

- an offer that if accepted is likely to jeopardize military co-operation with

western nations.

The Post understands the first approach was made three months ago when an official

from the Iranian Embassy in Hanoi met with head of RCAF Ke Kim Yan.

At that time the offer was rejected.

But within the past month military officials from Iran have been in Phnom Penh and

have again met with Ke Kim Yan. Their visit has been described as private.

Military sources said that there was no defense co-operation protocol with Iran so

there was no mechanism to put any training program in place.

Senior RCAF staff spoken to by the Post have either denied the contact or shied away

from discussing it.

Co-Defense Minister Prince Sisowath Sirirath looked visibly shaken when the topic

was brought up, then said: "There are some things that are put in the top draw

and locked away and never discussed.

"We must be careful not to upset our allies."

And military co-operation with Iran is definitely going to upset some of Cambodia's

western friends.

Those spoken to by the Post refused to speak on the record. However off the record

they said any such relationship with Iran would kill off any chances of military

assistance from their own countries.

It is not clear what assistance the Iranians were offering but the two most likely

areas are air defense and the navy.

Cambodia has no air defense system - all its Mig fighter aircraft are non-operational

and it has no working surface-to-air missiles.

The navy is in tatters and there is a growing realization at government level that

an effective navy is essential to assist with border control, smuggling, protection

of fishing grounds and guarding offshore petrochemical resources.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all