Friday, July 20, 2007

Iran's Early "Investment" in the Balkans


Iran Gave Croatia Millions for Help to Bosnia

Croatia provided Bihac with weapons and ammunition in exchange for millions of dollars it received from Iran.

Lajla Mlinaric

In 1994 and 1995 Iran paid Croatia more than 50 million dollars so Zagreb could deliver weapons and ammunition to the Bosnian government necessary for the defence of Bihac, former Bosnian diplomat, Ivica Misic, said.

In a brief interview published by the Nezavisne novine daily from Banja Luka (BH), Misic said that he had personally witnessed talks between the then Bosnian foreign minister Haris Silajdzic, former Croatian foreign minister Mate Granic and Iranian official Ali Akbar Velayati.

"At the meeting it was agreed that Croatia deliver weapons, ammunition and other assistance to Bihac and that everything would be paid for by Iran", Misic said, explaining that the talks had held place in New York in the autumn of 1994 when Silajdzic had asked for help to prevent the occupationof Bihac.

"It was a vast amount of money that encompassed some earlier deliveries as well", the former Bosnian ambassador at the United Nations said.

Misic did not specify the exact amount of money, but said that it was "much more" than 46 million dollars as had been speculated.

"Velayati asked Granic how much money was needed. I was shocked with the number Granic came up with and Velayati just said: Send the weapons to the Bosnians and tomorrow you will get the check", Misic said.

Mate Granic confirmed for Nezavisne novine the cooperation between Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Iran, but refuted that he had personally attended the meeting Misic spoke about.

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