Iran slams US, insisting its missiles are defensive

Iran accused the USof "deception" and insisted its missiles are for self-defence only after a top US official charged that the Islamic republic could rain missiles down on Europe.

Updated: Jun 19, 2010, 19:12 PM IST

Tehran: Iran accused the United States
of "deception" Saturday and insisted its missiles are for
self-defence only after a top US official charged that the
Islamic republic could rain missiles down on Europe.

"The Islamic Republic`s missile capability has been
designed and implemented to defend against any military
aggression and it does not threaten any nation," Defence
Minister Ahmad Vahidi said in a statement carried by state
media.

He was reacting to remarks by US Defence Secretary
Robert Gates on Thursday that US intelligence has shown that
Iran could attack Europe with "scores or hundreds" of
missiles, prompting major changes to US missile defences.

Washington seeks to "expand its domination over
Europe, and to find an excuse not to dismantle its nuclear
weapons stationed in the region, while putting the pressure on
Russia and surrounding it," Vahidi said.

"The US seeks to create regional discord and impair
(Moscow`s) regional ties to humiliate Russia and weaken its
relations with neighbouring countries," he added, urging
Russia not to fall for "US deception and psychological war."

US President Barack Obama in September cited a
mounting danger from Iran`s arsenal of short-and medium-range
missiles when he announced an overhaul of American missile
defence plans.

The new programme uses sea and land-based interceptors
to protect NATO allies in the region, instead of mainly larger
weapons designed to counter long-range missiles.

Gates said the United States believed "that if Iran
were actually to launch a missile attack on Europe... it would
more likely be a salvo kind of attack, where you would be
dealing potentially with scores or even hundreds of missiles."

Iran is under mounting international pressure over its
controversial nuclear programme of uranium enrichment which
the West fears masks a covert weapons drive.

The Islamic republic vehemently denies the charge, but
has been flexing its military muscle mainly in the strategic
Gulf region by staging regular war games and showcasing an
array of Iran-manufactured missiles.

The United States and its top regional ally Israel,
the sole if undeclared nuclear-armed power in the Middle East,
have never ruled out a military strike to curb Iran`s atomic
drive.

Iran has vowed to deliver a crushing response if it
comes under attack.

PTI

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