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Iran welcomes U.S. missile defense reversal

RIA Novosti

02:09 22/09/2009 MOSCOW, September 21 (RIA Novosti) - Tehran has welcomed the shift in America's missile-defense plans in Central Europe, Iranian media reported on Tuesday.

U.S. Presdient Barack Obama announced Thursday that Washington was dropping its previous plans to deploy elements of a missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes any act that causes a reduction in the conventional arms race," Press TV quoted a spokesman for the country's foreign ministry, Hassan Qashqavi, as saying.

He said that the Islamic Republic saw the deployment of U.S. missile forces in Europe as "part of the missile [force] rivalry between Russia and the U.S." and as the country's interference into internal European affairs.

The Bush administration sought to deploy an omni-directional radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland as defense against potential strikes from Iran. Russia consistently opposed the plans as a threat to its security and the strategic balance of forces in Europe.

The Islamic Republic is locked in a dispute with the Western powers over a nuclear program it says is designed to generate electricity, while others fear it is aimed at building weapons.

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