US anti-missile systems will be placed in Poland despite world powers reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, John A. Heffern, US Deputy Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, said.
“The deal with Tehran doesn’t include missiles, therefore the threat remains,” Heffern told PolishRzeczpospolita newspaper Tuesday, adding that he was speaking about Iranian rockets without nuclear warheads.
According to the US diplomat, the construction of AMD components in the village of Redzikowo near the northern Polish town of Slupsk starts next year – as scheduled – and will be completed in 2018.
Washington’s plans to install anti-missile systems in Eastern Europe have been one of the biggest stumbling blocks in US-Russia relations.
Moscow refused to believe American explanations that the shield is needed to counter a possible attack from nuclear-capable Iran, considering it a threat to Russia’s national security.
After Tehran agreed to curb its controversial nuclear program in exchange of easing of international sanction, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said that Washington’s AMD plans had no justification anymore.
“We all probably remember that in April 2009 in Prague [US] President [Barack] Obama said that if the Iran nuclear program issue is sorted out, then the task of creating the European segment of the missile defense system would disappear,” Lavrov stated at a press conference in Vienna.
In his interview with Rzeczpospolita, Heffern also said that NATO isn’t going set up permanent bases in Poland.