WASHINGTON, December 06, 14:59 /ITAR-TASS/. The White House has said that the United States does not intend to abandon the plans to deploy a missile defence system in Europe, otherwise known as the European phased adaptive approach (EPAA), despite the Iranian nuclear programme settlement prospects, the Foreign Policy magazine reported on Friday.
“Our plans regarding missile defense in Europe and our commitment to EPAA as the U.S. contribution to NATO missile defense remain unchanged,” National Security Council spokeswoman Laura Lucas Magnuson said.
The idea of scaling back NATO’s missile defense system was floated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday following a meeting with Russian and NATO counterparts. “If the Iranian nuclear programme is placed under the complete and tight control of the IAEA, the reasons that are now given for the creation of the European segment of the missile defense system will become invalid,” said Lavrov.
However, Foreign Policy writes, regardless, the decision to stay firm on the missile shield has sparked rare agreement between the White House and Republican hawks in Congress. “We absolutely must continue to put in place an effective and affordable missile defense system in Europe,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) told the magazine.
“Even if a deal were to work out in the next six months, Iran will retain the ability to enrich nuclear materials to assemble a nuclear weapon in the future, and would be able to field it in far less time than it would take for the U.S. and NATO to deploy a missile defense system in Europe,” said Inhofe. “Furthermore, an effective missile defense system is an important hedge against other nations that might choose to follow in the dangerous footsteps of Iran and North Korea and has an important nonproliferation effect,” the senator believes.