November 08, 2007

Iran unlikely to threaten U.S. territory in next 10 years

15:13 | 08/ 11/ 2007

MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) - Iran has no capability to build nuclear weapons that could reach U.S. territory within the next seven to 10 years, a Russian military expert said on Thursday.

"Iran may develop primitive nuclear weapons, but not weapons capable of reaching the United States in the next seven to 10 years," said Col. Gen. Varfolomei Korobushin, first vice president of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences.

He said the Iranian threat cannot be used to justify U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Central Europe.

Iran has been under international scrutiny over its nuclear research, which Tehran says is aimed at generating energy, but Western nations suspect the Islamic Republic of pursuing a clandestine weapons program.

The U.S. announced its Central European missile defense plans earlier this year, claiming the facilities were needed to counter possible threats from so called rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. Moscow considers the plans a threat to national security.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier warned that if Washington ignores Russia's concerns and deploys interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, Moscow could be forced to adopt countermeasures.

Speaking at a news conference following the October Russia-EU summit in Portugal, President Putin said the plans were reminiscent of the political crisis caused by the Soviet Union's nuclear missile bases in Cuba in 1962.

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