Iran General NewsIran calls U.S. missile interceptor plan a "joke"

Iran calls U.S. missile interceptor plan a “joke”

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Reuters: A senior Iranian official dismissed as a “joke” a U.S. plan to set up a missile interceptor system in Europe to counter threats from Iran. TEHRAN (Reuters) – A senior Iranian official dismissed as a “joke” a U.S. plan to set up a missile interceptor system in Europe to counter threats from Iran.

The United States wants to deploy a radar system in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missiles in Poland by 2011-12. It says the system would counter threats from so-called “rogue states” like Iran and North Korea.

But Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, was quoted by IRNA news agency late on Sunday as saying Tehran did not have missiles with that reach and it would not target a trade partner anyway.

“The range of Iranian missiles cannot reach Europe and it’s surprising that they don’t know such a thing,” Larijani said.

“In addition to that, Europe is our biggest commercial partner and basically what is the logic for us to do such thing (as target Europe)?” he said.

He described the initiative as “the joke of the year” and added: “These days Americans make such jokes a lot.”

The plan has drawn strong criticism from Russia, which sees it as a threat to its national security and an encroachment on its sphere of influence. Moscow has rejected offers to cooperate with the United States on the project.

Iran is locked in a standoff with the United States and other major powers over its nuclear program, which Washington says Tehran is pursuing in order to build atomic bombs. Iran insists its aim is to make fuel for nuclear power stations.

The U.N. watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has said Iran is probably three to eight years away from producing a nuclear weapon, if that is its aim.

Iran’s longest range missile is the Shahab-3, which Tehran says has a range of 1,250 miles.

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