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.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to

  • Former chief bodyguard receives royal pardon

    The former chief bodyguard of late Senate president Chea Sim has received a royal pardon nearly eight years after he was sentenced to 15 years behind bars on several charges, according to a royal decree dated November 12, last year, and obtained by The Post on Wednesday.

  • Close to the edge: Hair raising pictures from Kulen Mountain

    A new hair raising attraction on Kulen Mountain has finally opened to the public, with people flocking to the protruding cliff edge overlooking green mountainous forests to take photographs. The giant overhanging rock is situated in an area known as Mahendraparvata – an ancient city of

  • US warned not to interfere despite successful meeting

    A senior Ministry of National Defence official said the Tuesday meeting between the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia Joseph H Felter and General Neang Phat had helped strengthen relations between the two countries’ militaries. However, a senior Cambodian People’