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Russia urges end to NATO missile system after Iran talks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has urged Washington to honor its pledge of dismantling the US-led missile system across Europe following the conclusion of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 countries.

“We all remember when in April 2009 in Prague (the capital of the Czech Republic), [US] President [Barack] Obama said that if the Iranian nuclear issue was settled, there would be no need in creating an air defense system in Europe,” Lavrov said on Tuesday after talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers on Iran’s nuclear energy program finally reached a conclusion.

Russia has long protested the placement of the US-led NATO anti-missile defense (AMD) system along its borders, saying the aim of the Eastern European system is to encircle Russia. Washington, however, claims the bases are directed against an alleged potential threat from Iran.

The missile system is being constructed by NATO in several member states and around the Mediterranean Sea and the plans for the system have changed several times since first studied in 2002.

This file photo shows US troops from the 5th Battalion of the 7th Air Defense Regiment with a Patriot air and missile defense system at a test range in Sochaczew, Poland. (© AFP)


The nuclear conclusion, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was nailed down on Tuesday in the ritzy Palais Coburg Hotel in the Austrian capital of Vienna, where negotiators from Iran and the six other countries had been spending over two weeks on intensive talks.

According to Iranian officials, the JCPOA will be presented to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which will adopt a resolution in seven to 10 days making the JCPOA an official document.

Referring to the probability of the approval of JCPOA by the UNSC, Lavrov said, “We believe, it will be unanimously approved.”

“That is why today we have drawn the attention of our US colleagues to this fact (the cancellation of the creation of air defense system in Europe). We shall be waiting for the reaction,” Lavrov said.

In April, after Iran and the P5+1 group  - the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany - reached a mutual understanding on Tehran’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Lausanne, Dmitry Rogozin, Russian deputy prime minister, criticized NATO for its ongoing so-called missile shield installations across Europe.

The missile shield in Europe stays because “the Missile Defense System was never about Iran,” said the Russian official in reaction to comments by NATO’s spokeswoman Oana Lungescu, who had said, “The threat to NATO countries posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles continues to increase… the framework [of the Iran nuclear program] agreement does not change that fact.”

Russia has always blasted the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for its eastward expansion calling it a direct threat to Moscow.

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