4 Dec 2017 16:01

U.S. changing arguments for missile defense in Europe after Iran deal - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. Dec 4 (Interfax) - The Iranian nuclear deal has deprived the United States and NATO of their primary reason for deploying missile-defense systems in Europe, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"With the achievement of the agreements on the Iranian nuclear problem, a pivotal argument used to substantiate Washington's so-called 'phased adaptive approach' to missile defense has essentially disappeared. However, we actually see that not the system itself is being adapted, but the arguments in favor of its deployment," Russian Foreign Ministry's European Cooperation Department Director Andrei Kelin said in an interview with Interfax.

Moscow "has repeatedly explained why we view the creation of U.S. missile defense, including its European segment, as a destabilizing factor and the direct threat to Russian national security," he said.

"What is more, our country has repeatedly come up with initiatives in the sphere of missile defense aimed at turning this issue from an 'irritant' into an area of cooperation. However, our proposals were declined," Kelin said.

"Russia has to take adequate measures aimed at preventing breaches of the current balance in the sphere of strategic weapons and minimizing possible harm to the security of our country due to the further build-up of the U.S.' missile-defense capabilities," he said.

"At the same time, we continue to call for an equitable and constructive dialogue on the missile-defense issue aimed at the search for solutions which take into consideration the interests of all interested sides," Kelin said.