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Turkey: Iran no threat to NATO

Amid some European countries’ concern about the US-backed NATO missile system plan, Turkey says the system should not single out Iran, Syria and Russia.

In September, Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Anders Fogh Rasmussen proposed to develop a 200-million-euro (253-million-dollar) missile system around Europe against possible attacks by “rogue states.”

The NATO chief then named Iran’s nuclear program as one of the reasons that justify the necessity of a missile system, saying, “If Iran eventually acquires a nuclear capability that will be very dangerous, and a direct threat to the allies.”

This is while the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly verified the non-diversion of Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran, as a member of the IAEA and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has declared that it has no plan to develop a military nuclear program.

“We do not perceive any threat from any neighbor countries and we do not think our neighbors form a threat to NATO,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also said on Friday.

“We do not lean towards the idea of defining countries like Iran, Syria and Russia as threats. The [foreign] minister has conveyed our opinion on the subject,” Reuters quoted a Turkish Foreign Ministry official as saying on Monday.

NATO member states have also been trying to ensure Russia’s cooperation in the project.

Russia, however, has opposed the plan, arguing that the missile system would be a threat to its sovereignty and that it is meant to pacify its ballistic capability.

We should first determine “who, how and when can get hold of missile technologies capable of posing a threat to both Russia and NATO member states,” Russia’s Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said earlier this year.

France has also voiced concerns about the missile systems. After a meeting with Rasmussen in March, French Defense Minister Herve Morin asked, “What threat are we responding to? What are the risks?”

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