From CNN: Putin: Missiles may target Europe.
Moscow could aim nuclear weapons at targets in Europe as part of "retaliatory steps" if Washington proceeds with building a missile defense system on the continent, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday.
Speaking to foreign reporters days before he travels to Germany for the annual summit with President Bush and the other Group of Eight leaders, Putin assailed the White House plan to place a radar system in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in neighboring Poland. Washington says the system is needed to counter a potential threat from Iran.
In an interview released Monday, Putin suggested that Russia may respond to the threat by aiming its nuclear weapons at Europe.
"If a part of the strategic nuclear potential of the United States appears in Europe and, in the opinion of our military specialists, will threaten us, then we will have to take appropriate steps in response. What kind of steps? We will have to have new targets in Europe," Putin said, according to a transcript released by the Kremlin. These could be targeted with "ballistic or cruise missiles or maybe a completely new system" he said.
On Monday, Iran's top security official called the U.S. plans for the missile defense shield a "joke," saying Tehran's missiles do not have the capability to reach Europe.
"Claims by U.S. officials that installing a missile defense system in Europe is aimed at confronting Iranian missiles and protecting Europe against Iran is the joke of the year," Ali Larijani told the state-run IRNA news agency.
"The range of Iran's missiles doesn't reach Europe at all," IRNA quoted Larijani as saying in Iran's first public reaction to the plans. Larijani is secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, the country's top security decision-making body.
Iran is known to possess a medium-range ballistic missile called the Shahab-3 that has a range of at least 800 miles, capable of striking Israel. In 2005, Iranian officials said they had improved the range of the Shahab-3 to 1,200 miles.
UPDATE I -- June 5: From FOX News: Bush to Putin: The Cold War Is Over.
Memo to Vladimir Putin: The Cold War is over.
President Bush gave the Russian president a firm response Tuesday to his remarks that Moscow would take "retaliatory steps" if the U.S. went ahead with plans to build a missile defense system in Europe.
"Russia is not the enemy," Bush said after meeting with Czech President Vaclav Klaus and Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek. "The Cold War is over. It ended."
UPDATE II -- June 6: Regarding Iranian missiles ... From DEBKAFile: Ahmadinijad’s bluster boosted by secret deal for North Korean Taep’o-dong-2 ballistic missiles. (hat tip Dr. Gary Katz)
Iran and North Korea are in advanced negotiations for Tehran’s purchase of Taep’o-dong-2 ballistic missiles, whose estimate range is 3,500-4,000 km., DEBKAfile’s exclusive intelligence sources report. North Korea’s deputy foreign minister Kim Hyong brought the proposition to its final stages when he visited Tehran in the first week of May. Delivery was promised for late July or early August. US Vice President Richard Cheney informed Saudi King Abdullah of this development during his May visit to Riyadh, as DEBKA-Net-Weekly 300 first revealed on May 11.
Israeli military sources say that Iranian president Mahoud Ahmadinejad’s declarations are made more outrageous than ever by knowledge of the deal. Sunday he declared the countdown has begun for the demise of the Zionist state.
Posted by Forkum at June 4, 2007 03:11 PM