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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran accuses Bush of trying to destabilize Persian Gulf

RIA Novosti

03/04/2008 16:29 TEHRAN, April 3 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that U.S. President George W. Bush's latest remarks on the alleged military threat posed by Tehran are aimed at destabilizing the Persian Gulf region.

Speaking at a NATO summit in Bucharest on Wednesday, the U.S. president said Iran was developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of reaching not only Europe but also the United States, and reiterated his support for the European missile shield.

"Such allegations are nothing but unreasonable and opportunistic attempts made by the American government to destabilize the situation in the region," the ministry's spokesman Mohamamd-Ali Hosseini said in a statement.

The Iranian diplomat said Tehran was seeking friendly relations with its neighbors and that "the interference of other countries cannot harm" this process.

"Iran's military might has a strictly defensive nature and serves stability and security in the region," Hosseini said.

The Islamic republic has long been touting its progress in ballistic missiles and its Shahab-3 missile has a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (about 1,200 miles) making it capable of reaching Israel and southern Europe.

Some Western sources claim that Iran may be currently running a program, dubbed Project Koussar, to develop a totally different missile with a range of 4,000-5,000 km (2,500-3,300 miles).

To counter these alleged threats, the U.S. plans to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, although Russia views these plans as a destabilizing factor for Europe and a threat to its national security.

George W. Bush will meet on Sunday with Russia's outgoing President Vladimir Putin and president-elect Dmitry Medvedev in Sochi, Russia's resort city on the Black Sea, for more discussions on U.S. plans to deploy elements of its missile shield in Central Europe.

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