AFP: The United States said Friday that it was pushing ahead with a planned missile shield that has angered Russia, and that a new US assessment downgrading the threat from Iran had no impact on the plan. WASHINGTON (AFP) The United States said Friday that it was pushing ahead with a planned missile shield that has angered Russia, and that a new US assessment downgrading the threat from Iran had no impact on the plan.
“I don’t believe it’s had any change on missile defense, certainly nothing that I’ve heard, nor should it,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said when asked about the impact from the new US National Intelligence estimate.
That blockbuster report found that the Islamic republic had frozen a nuclear weapons program in 2003. Washington has often said missile defense is needed to protect European allies from a potential Iranian nuclear strike.
“It’s a long-term effort to protect our allies from threats from missiles, and I think that effort is proceeding,” said Fratto. “We expect that to continue, it shouldn’t change anything.”
A US administration official pointed to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, saying the issue would doubtless arise.
On Thursday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino had accused Tehran of “enriching uranium, which is fissile material, to get a bomb. They are developing ballistic missiles in order to deliver a bomb.”
Prodded by a reporter, she amended her comments to say that Iran’s uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities “can lead to fissile material to get a bomb.”