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Iran says U.S. missile shield in Turkey would threaten Russia

RIA Novosti

17/03/2008 19:24 TEHRAN, March 17 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's Foreign Ministry warned on Monday that the United States' alleged plans to deploy missile defense elements in Turkey could pose a threat to Russia's security.

Media reports of Washington's new plans emerged after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' visit to Turkey late last month. The Pentagon confirmed that the issue of missile defense was touched on during discussions with Turkish officials.

The plans for Turkey would "go against the national interests of countries in the region including Russia, and lead to an escalation of the arms race," ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said.

Both Russia and Iran, which borders on Turkey, have already been riled by U.S. missile shield plans for Poland and the Czech Republic, which the U.S. says would defend against 'rogue states' such as Iran, but which Moscow views as a direct threat to its own security.

Hosseini said Turkey has not yet confirmed whether the issue has been discussed with Washington.

"We are convinced that Turkey - a friendly neighbor to us - will not allow non-regional states to jeopardize security and stability in the region," the spokesman concluded.

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