AFP: A proposed US missile defence shield in central Europe would threaten Asia, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday at a regional summit in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek. BISHKEK, Aug 16, 2007 (AFP) – A proposed US missile defence shield in central Europe would threaten Asia, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday at a regional summit in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.
“Such a plan goes beyond threatening one country. It concerns most of the continent, Asia,” he said at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), according to a translation by organisers.
According to Ahmadinejad, the six countries of the SCO, including China, are among those threatened.
His remarks, made in Farsi, were simultaneously translated into Russian in a television link-up provided by summit organisers for journalists.
Iran has observer status in the SCO, which comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Washington says that Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions are one of the main reasons that missile defences are needed in central Europe.
The Pentagon wants to build a radar station in the Czech Republic and a launching site in Poland with 10 long-range interceptors capable of shooting down missiles.
According to the Pentagon, the system would defend Europe against attack from limited missile strikes by smaller military powers such as Iran, which Washington claims is reaching for a nuclear missile capability.
US authorities also name North Korea as a future threat.
Russia has led opposition to the plan, saying the defences would undermine its own massive nuclear missile force and upset the strategic military balance.
Speaking to journalists after the SCO meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s rejection of the US rationale for its missile defense plans and said Ahmadinejad’s remarks should be seen in that context.
“You can probably understand the Iranian president when he raised the subject, because the invented, projected threat of his country is being used as a pretext” by the United States to pursue its missile defense plans, Lavrov said.
The Russian minister restated his country’s view that Iranian missiles pose no threat to the United States.