Russia ready to soften stance on anti-missile shield - US official
Patrick O’Reilly   /  Photo: www.daylife.com

Russia ready to soften stance on anti-missile shield - US official

30 Jul, 10:27 PM

Iran’s demonstrated progress in developing and testing a long-range missile has moved Russia closer to the US view that the Islamist state may soon field a viable weapon, the US Missile Defense Agency director said Wednesday.

Iran’s successful February launch using a three-stage missile of a satellite that is still in orbit has influenced Russian officials, who now acknowledge that Iran may be closer than previously thought to fielding a long-range missile, Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly said in an interview quoted by Bloomberg.

Iran’s launch of its Safir satellite “moved their timelines forward a lot” because it demonstrated technologies that are directly applicable to developing intercontinental ballistic missiles, he said.

Russia’s recognition of this threat is crucial to the US building support for a missile defense site of 10 interceptors and radar in Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia has opposed the plan, saying it threatens the deterrent power of its nuclear arsenal.

O’Reilly declined to say when Iran might field a long-range missile. The Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center in its report on worldwide missile threats released in June said “with sufficient foreign assistance, Iran could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015.”

The US has been working with Russia to dispel its concerns over the US building a missile defense in Eastern Europe, O’Reilly said.

The project is on hold as the Obama administration and Polish and Czech lawmakers continue to assess the idea.

To build confidence about US intentions, O’Reilly said he has met with the Russians in Moscow to discuss how they could thwart the system.

“I am assisting them in understanding how they can defeat our system because it’s not aimed” at “defeating the Russian arsenal,” he said.



Tags: Iran, missiles, US



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