Iran could fire 'hundreds' of missiles at Europe: Gates

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Pastor Dale Morgan

Jun 17, 2010, 11:23:53 PM6/17/10
Perilous Times

Iran could fire 'hundreds' of missiles at Europe: Gates

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) June 17, 2010

US intelligence has shown Iran could launch an attack against Europe with "scores or hundreds" of missiles, prompting major changes to US missile defenses, Pentagon chief Robert Gates said on Thursday.

President Barack Obama in September cited a mounting danger from Iran's arsenal of short and medium-range missiles when he announced an overhaul of US missile defense plans.

The new program, called the "phased adaptive approach," uses sea and land-based interceptors to protect NATO allies in the region, instead of mainly larger weapons designed to counter long-range missiles.

"One of the elements of the intelligence that contributed to the decision on the phased adaptive array was the realization that if Iran were actually to launch a missile attack on Europe, it wouldn't be just one or two missiles or a handful," Gates told a senate hearing.

"It would more likely be a salvo kind of attack, where you would be dealing potentially with scores or even hundreds of missiles."

Top US generals have said the new anti-missile system was meant to guard against a potential salvo of missiles from states such as Iran or North Korea.

Gates made the comment when asked by Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss if he supported deploying improved missile defenses, including plans for an upgraded SM-3 missile by 2020, even if Russia objected.

Gates said he backed the 10-year plan, despite possible resistance from Moscow, saying the new missile defenses "would give us the ability to protect our troops, our bases, our facilities and our allies in Europe."

Gates, along with other top deputies in the Obama administration, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to argue for ratification of a new nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, trying to reassure Republican lawmakers the agreement posed no threat to the missile defense program.

earlier related report

Russia 'schizophrenic' on Iran: US defense chief

Washington (AFP) June 17, 2010 - Russia appears to have a "schizophrenic" approach to Iran, viewing Tehran as a security threat while pursuing commercial deals with the country, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday.

Gates told senators Russia has for years seen Iran as a worrisome regional power.

When he met with then-president Vladimir Putin three years ago in Moscow, the Russian leader "told me that he considered Iran Russia's greatest national security threat," Gates said.

"And yet they have these commercial interests in Iran that go back more than 20 years," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Asked by a senator about the apparent contradiction, Gates said "you've just put your finger on a kind of a schizophrenic Russian approach to this."

Russia's policies reflected "this balancing," said Gates, a former CIA director who analyzed the former Soviet Union at the spy agency.

"They recognize the security threat that Iran presents, but then there are these commercial opportunities, which, frankly, are not unique to them in Europe," said Gates, referring to European business ties to Iran.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits Washington for a summit next week with President Barack Obama, with Tehran's nuclear work expected to be high on the agenda.

After months of US-led diplomacy, Russia this month backed a new UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program.

But Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said Thursday that Moscow was disappointed by additional US and EU unilateral measures against Iran, warning the moves could affect cooperation in the nuclear crisis.

At the same senate hearing, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said negotiations on a new nuclear arms control treaty helped build a dialogue with Moscow on how to handle Iran, and that the Russians "share our concerns now about a nuclear-armed Iran."

She said "it took a while to make the case to the Russians that Iran indeed was pursuing not just a peaceful civil nuclear capacity but, in our view, poised to pursue nuclear weapons."

Moscow said last week that work had started to bring Russian domestic legislation in line with requirements of the UN resolution, promising to strictly adhere to the sanctions and halt a controversial sale of its S-300 missiles to Iran.

At the hearing, Clinton confirmed that Russian plans to sell the S-300 missiles to Iran had been postponed.
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