Minister: Russia Disagrees With U.S. Assumption Missile Defense Necessary to Counter Iran Threat
MOSCOW – Russia's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Moscow disagrees with a U.S. assumption that Iran is an enemy that must be countered with missile defense sites in Europe.
The statement from Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin indicated that Moscow remains strongly opposed to Washington's missile defense plans, despite recent U.S. attempts to assuage Russia's concerns.
"A serious problem for us is that the U.S. plans are based on dogmatic logic that Iran is an enemy," Kamynin said. "We don't support plans for a 'holy alliance' against that country."
President Vladimir Putin in the past has scoffed at U.S. claims that missile defense sites in Europe are necessary to counter a prospective threat from Iran, saying the shield would threaten Russia's nuclear deterrent.
Putin also said there was no proof that Iran was seeking to build nuclear weapons, as the U.S. and others have suspected. He visited Iran earlier this month and reaffirmed that Russia would complete construction of Iran's first nuclear power plant.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held missile defense talks with Putin and their Russian counterparts in Moscow earlier this month. They proposed letting Russian officials monitor activities at the sites, as well offering to possibly delay activating the missile defense sites until an Iranian threat is clearer.
However, Gates said Washington would ask for approval from Poland and Czech Republic before formally proposing to allow Russian monitors onto their soil.
Moscow hasn't responded to the U.S. offer, saying it first expects Washington to spell them out in detail. Some Russian officials, however, welcomed the U.S. proposals as a positive sign.
Kamynin voiced annoyance that the United States was continuing talks with Poland and the Czech Republic on the deployment of missile sites despite Moscow's calls to freeze them.