RIA Novosti – July 28, 2011
Russia’s envoy to NATO said on Thursday that the United States might use the European missile defense project as preparation for an attack on Iran.
Washington has said its nuclear missile defense plans were designed to prevent any possible missile strikes from Iran or North Korea.
“The missile defense system is not purely a defensive system,” envoy Dmitry Rogozin said. “There are serious and authoritative experts in Russia and in other countries who fear that the creation of a European missile defense system, officially assigned the task of blocking a threat from Iran, may in fact be a pretext for preparing an attack on Iran.”
Western nations have accused Iran of pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program while Iran said its nuclear research was purely civilian. Russia has favored negotiations as a way to resolve the issue.
“It is absolutely clear that a missile defense aimed against virtual and nonexistent weapons and nonexistent threats can only aggravate the situation,” Rogozin said.
He added that Russia maintained contacts with Iran and supported its “peaceful nuclear program.”
Rogozin, who is meeting with the Turkish leadership in Ankara on the U.S.-led missile defense project, said the U.S. pursued its missile defense plans regardless of negotiations with Russia or European partners.
“The Romanian government and the U.S. recently signed an agreement to set up a base of interceptor missiles near Bucharest and shortly afterward a USS Monterey missile cruiser entered the Black Sea waters,” Rogozin said.
He added that Washington also planned to deploy data processing and weapons systems in other European countries by 2018.
U.S. experts are also in talks with the Turkish government on deploying an early warning radar system in the southeast of the country.
An interceptor missile base is to be opened in Poland in 2018 and equipped by 2020 with new missiles, which will be capable of threatening Russia’s strategic nuclear potential.
Rogozin said no other NATO country had interceptor missile technologies, so NATO countries have no choice but to buy missile defense elements from the United States.