The accord with Iran to curb its nuclear programme means a planned NATO anti-missile system in Europe, hotly opposed by Moscow, is no longer necessary, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov argued Wednesday.
Moscow fears the system would compromise its own defences while NATO says the project is meant only to protect Europe from Iranian development of long-range missiles.
The prospect that Iran would also develop a nuclear weapon — strongly rejected in Tehran — added to the momentum for the NATO defence system.
Now, if the agreement with Iran “is fully implemented… then there will no reasons to create a missile defence system in Europe,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov reiterated that, for Russia, the system is a major problem in relations with NATO, the military alliance set up by Washington to counter the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
Last month, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany agreed an accord with Iran to curb its nuclear programme in return for an easing of sanctions.
The initial deal is supposed to lead to a comprehensive accord which would bring Iran’s nuclear programme back under full international oversight to ensure it is a civilian not military project, with crippling sanctions progressively lifted.