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    Russia’s NATO envoy to visit China, Iran over missile defense

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    Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin will visit China and Iran in mid-January to discuss a U.S.-backed global missile defense network.

    Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin will visit China and Iran in mid-January to discuss a U.S.-backed global missile defense network.

    “We are planning to visit both Beijing and Tehran soon under the Russian president’s directive, to discuss the planned deployment of a global missile defense network,” Rogozin said during a roundtable meeting at the lower house of the Russian parliament.

    Rogozin said he would meet with Foreign Ministry and General Staff officials in China, and hold talks with the head of the Supreme National Security Council and diplomats in Iran.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev outlined on Wednesday a series of possible "appropriate measures" if missile defense talks between Moscow and Washington result in failure, including the deployment of "advanced offensive weapon systems" targeting the European component of the missile defense network.

    Russia and NATO tentatively agreed to cooperate on the European missile defense network at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010 but differences in approaches toward the project led to a deadlock in negotiations.

    The Kremlin says the U.S. expanding anti-missile system in Europe is a potential threat to the Russian nuclear arsenal, while Washington is trying to convince Moscow that the system poses no threat to Russia, that it is needed to protect against attack from "rogue states" such as Iran.

    Rogozin called the U.S. proposals to jointly monitor missile threats over Europe and to allow Russian experts to take part in the first tests of the global missile shield next spring as “absurd” on Monday.

    “It looks more like propaganda than a serious proposal…Our specialists might have been interested in monitoring the tests if they could use telemetric equipment but Washington will not allow that,” he said.

    “They said our experts could look through binoculars from some sort of a barge from a long distance…We have a planetarium in Moscow and it is very exiting to watch the stars there, so they might well have invited us to visit this planetarium,” Rogozin quipped.

    The United States and NATO plan to place elements of the proposed global missile shield in Poland, Romania and Turkey.

    Moscow is seeking written, legally-binding guarantees that the shield will not be directed against it but Washington has refused to put its verbal assurances in writing.

     

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