US missiles in Europe no longer justified: Russia

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Moscow, Dec 19: The deployment of a US missile shield in Europe lost sense after Tehran and six world powers reached a deal on Iran's nuclear programme, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

"We believe that the solving of issues regarding Iranian nuclear programme must lead to re-thinking of the concept of US anti-missile defence in Europe," Xinhua quoted Lavrov as saying in the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament.

Lavrov said the reason Washington used to justify the deployment of the missile shield ceased to exist after the Iranian nuclear issue was temporarily solved.

US and its allies would continue implementing missile defence plans in Europe.

Iran and world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US -- struck a deal in Geneva Nov 24, in which Iran agreed to freeze part of its nuclear programme in exchange for limited ease of sanctions which had hurt its economy.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the phrase "missile defence" is misleading as the system is a part of NATO's offensive strategic potential.

On Monday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, that the US and its allies would continue implementing missile defence plans in Europe despite the temporary Iranian deal.

Also on Monday, Russia confirmed that it had deployed its tactical Iskander-M missiles along the borders with NATO countries.

IANS

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