September 27, 2011
Unofficial sources have announced that Iran, Russia, and China are currently holding talks on a proposal to establish a joint missile defense shield as a counterweight to a NATO defense shield, Mehr news agency reported.
The report, which was published in the Iranian daily newspaper Kayhan on Sunday, said that the sources cited two reasons why serious consultations have been held on the initiative.
First, all three states have come to the conclusion that U.S. officials’ assertion that their concern over the alleged missile and nuclear capabilities of Iran and North Korea is the reason for the decision to establish a NATO missile defense shield is just a pretext and the true objective of the shield is to threaten Russia and China.
Also, now that the US and Turkey signed a memorandum on Wednesday to establish an early warning radar system (the AN/TPY-2 THAAD) in Malatya, southeast Turkey, by the end of the year which is one component of the NATO missile defense shield which is supposedly to protect Europe from missile attacks from rogue states, the U.S. is now planning to establish other components of the new system in South Korea and Taiwan, which clearly shows that Washington is using the alleged threat from Iran and North Korea as a pretext to target China and Russia.
An informed expert believes China, which has not taken any action on the issue so far, is beginning to comprehend the level of danger posed by the new system, Mehr quoted the report as saying.
Russia’s analysis of the situation is similar to Iran’s view, which was expressed during Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev’s recent visit to Tehran.
Therefore, it seems the three countries have realized that the time has come to seriously start discussions on the plan.
Some sources say Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian envoy to NATO, who is scheduled to travel to Iran before the end of September, will probably hold operational discussions on the plan with Iranian officials.
According to RIA Novosti, Rogozin is going to discuss “strategic issues” in Tehran.
Military experts are of the opinion that since Iran, Russia, and China have made great progress in designing anti-aircraft defense systems, the construction of such a missile shield system will not be a difficult task for them.
Furthermore, Romania agreed to a deal with Washington under which land-based SM3 interceptor missiles and over 100 military personnel will be based on Romanian soil. The deal also includes the deployment of American Navy cruisers with naval versions of the interceptors along the Romanian coast.
The project has caused concern in Russia, which believes the system may be targeted against its nuclear deterrence capabilities. Washington refused to build a joint Russian-NATO anti-missile system to protect Russia, as suggested by Moscow.
Apart from the potential to tip the strategic military balance, the anti-missile defense (AMD) system may prove costly once you count in the maintenance, argued Ludo de Brabander, spokesman for the Belgium peace movement Verde.
“The US and NATO are arguing that this is small cost for big advantage,” he told RT. “It is estimated that this project will last 10 years and cost 200 million euros shared by all 28 NATO countries. So it seems little investment for each country. But maintaining this kind of system could cost much more. So it will not be easy to sell this project to the public.”
Bruce Gagnon from Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space says the plan has nothing to do with threats from Iran or North Korea. “It is all about surrounding Russia and China today, and these systems are part of a larger US first-strike attack systems underway,” he told RT.
“The United States is reintroducing the Cold War, both with Russia and China. The obvious response that we see from Russia and China – they’ve asked for negotiations, they’ve gone to the United Nations for many years seeking a ban on all weapons in space – the United States, through Democrat and Republican administrations, has ignored that offer to negotiate. So sadly, what we are seeing now is Russia and China having to take counter measures to deal with these growing US missile defense deployments surrounding their borders,” Bruce Gagnon continued.
Mark Avrum Gubrud, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, believes Washington is pursuing goals other than ensuring security. “The real purpose of this move is political,” he told RT. “The AMD is being used as a tool of diplomacy and as a tool of domestic politics. I don’t think the high officials in the Obama administration believe the system really has great effectiveness as a defense against a potential threat that does not even exist.”