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Iran's leader says U.S. missile shield threatens Eurasian security

RIA Novosti

16/08/2007 12:53 BISHKEK, August 16 (RIA Novosti) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a regional summit Thursday that the deployment of a U.S. missile shield in Europe threatens not only Iran but also the whole Eurasia.

The U.S. announced in January plans to place a radar and a host of interceptor missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic to fend off what Washington sees as an impending missile threat from "rogue states", including Iran.

United States plans "to deploy elements of a missile defense system around the world are threatening not just one country, but also the entire Eurasian continent, Asia and members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO]," Ahmadinejad told the SCO summit in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

The SCO, a regional group largely seen as a counterweight to U.S. influence in Asia, comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and has Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia as observers.

Russia has strongly opposed the U.S. missile shield plans, saying Washington has no justification for deploying a missile defense system in Europe until there is conclusive evidence showing that Iran has the capability to launch long-range nuclear-armed missiles.

Ahmadinejad called for closer cooperation between members of the so-called Shanghai Six on a variety of global challenges, including drug-trafficking, terrorism and organized crime.

The Iranian leader arrived in Kyrgyzstan after visits to nearby Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, where he met with the countries' presidents, Hamid Karzai and Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. All three leaders are present at the Bishkek summit as guests.

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