Iran offered to arm Sudan with anti-aircraft defense systems in late 2012 to defend itself after an alleged airstrike by the Israeli air force, Sudan's Foreign Minister Ali Karti said.
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In an interview for the Al Hayat newspaper, affiliated with the Saudi royal family, Karti said the Iranian offer followed the airstrike of the Yarmouk ammunition factory near the capital Khartoum in October 2012. Sudan's government blamed Israel for the attack, though the latter never claimed responsibility.
The attacked factory was erected with Iranian funding and assistance in 2008. The airstrike destroyed 40 containers which, according to some assessments, were holding Iranian-made long-range rockets intended for Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.
In the interview, which seems to have been meant to convey a conciliatory message to the Saudi government, the Sudanese minister said the Iranians wanted to deploy military experts in Sudan to assist with the missile defense system's operation. According to him, Sudan rejected the offer out of concern Iran will use the missiles against Saudi Arabia.
The Sudanese minister admitted in the interview that Iran is aiding his country with manufacturing weapons in plants across the country. But he denied Iran is using Sudan to transfer arms to the Gaza Strip or to other regions. He also denied the containers destroyed in the Yarmouk airstrike were holding weapons intended for Hamas.