The results of Iran’s missile tests prove that US plans for a defence shield in Europe are unnecessary, said Sergei Lavrov (photo, from medianews.ge), Russian foreign minister.
While the US want shield sites in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend it and its allies from rogue states, Mr Lavrov said the tests confirmed Tehran had missiles with a limited range of up to 2,000km.
Iran said it was open to talks about its nuclear programme, after widespread condemnation over the recent tests.
Irna, the official news agency, said that on 19 July, the chief Iranian nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, would meet the European Union’s envoy, Javier Solana in Geneva, though Mr Solana’s office has not confirmed it yet.
Although Iran seems willing to talk, it is unclear whether it is willing to give any ground, say the BBC’s Jon Leyne in Tehran.
Denying Western assertions saying it is developing nuclear weapons, Iran insists its nuclear programme is intended for peaceful purposes.
This week’s missile tests have been seen by some analysts as an attempt by hardliners to discourage compromise.
Iran had earlier been urged by the EU to suspend uranium enrichment within its nuclear programme, adding that the missile tests“can only reinforce the international community’s concerns”.
Shahab-3 missile are said to have been included in the tests. They are capable of reaching Israel as well as a number of US allies in the region, though the planned US shield bases in Poland and Czech Republic would be out of reach.
An agreement has been signed by the US and the Czech Republic earlier this week, allowing the Americans to build a tracking radar station there. It is part of the system the US hope will be operational by 2012.
And in Poland, the US hope to place 10 interceptor missiles, but so far no agreement has been reached with the government there.
Repeated assurances from senior figures in Washington have failed to convince Moscow that the proposed shield represents no danger to Russia, say the BBC’s James Rodgers, in Moscow.
The tests showed that “a missile defence shield with these parameters is not needed to monitor or react to such threats”, Mr Lavrov told reporters on Friday. He added that Moscow saw what he called the imagined nature of Iranian missile threat as a pretext for a missile shield.
“We believe that any issue related to Iran should be resolved through negotiation, through political-diplomatic means… and not through threats”, he said.
Russia has previously threatened to aim its own missiles at any eventual base in Poland or the Czech Republic, fearing that locating the system near its borders could weaken its own defences or be used to spy on the country.