MOSCOW, December 13 (RIA Novosti) – The United States should abandon its plans for a missile defense system in Europe, as the breakthrough deal last month with Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions “has completely changed the geopolitical situation,” a Russian foreign ministry official said Friday.
“We have always heard from our partners that their reasons for taking steps to build the missile defense system were over concerns about Iran’s nuclear program,” Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told reporters in Athens.
“Now, we see it, those concerns are no longer valid. Let’s see what our partners do.”
Iran struck a deal last month with a group of six nations to abandon elements of its nuclear program in exchange for $7 billion in relief from sanctions. The agreement stipulated that international inspectors be allowed into Iran’s nuclear sites and uranium enrichment work be abandoned.
The missile defense plans have soured US-Russian relations in recent years. The United States maintains the system is necessary to defend its NATO allies from emerging-threat states such as Iran and North Korea, while Russia insists it may undermine Russia’s nuclear deterrent.
Meshkov also announced the launch of a pilot project with NATO members Germany and Poland to remove unexploded ordinance in Kaliningrad, Russia’s westernmost district.
Meshkov did not say where the munitions concerned originated, but vast amounts of leftover ordnance from World War II were dumped off the Baltic coast after that conflict, and the exclave has since been a major Russian naval base.