US missile defence chief warn Czechs re Iran!

This sounds bizarre. Russia is right to regard the deployment as aimed at a potential RUssian threat or even against a RUssian defensive move if attacked. The Czechs simply make themselves into a target and they become a tool of the US empire's schemes.

US missile defence chief warns of Iran threat
Published: Monday April 23, 2007

The head of the US missile defence agency, General Henry Obering, warned of the "growing Iranian missile threat" Monday during a visit here aimed at convincing Czech officials to host part of the US anti-missile shield.

"We believe that this radar in the Czech Republic will protect European allies and our deployed forces in the region against what we see as a growing Iranian missile threat," Obering said at a joint press conference with the leader of the main opposition Social Democrats, Jiri Paroubek.

Obering underlined the crucial role of the Czech Republic and Poland in Washington's plans to defend against the perceived threat of a possible missile attack ordered by Tehran.

"We did an analysis of the trajectories from Iran into Europe and from Iran into the US and it turned out that Poland and the Czech Republic are the two nations ideal for the interceptors and long-range radar, respectively," he added, referring to the plans to place different parts of the shield in the neighbouring Central European countries.

"From a strategic perspective, if we begin to join together US capacities and NATO capacities, and even Russian capacities, it will begin to diminish the value of these ballistic missiles in the eyes of countries such as Iran," Obering added.

Obering's Czech visit comes on the same day as US Defense Secretary Robert Gates launched a charm offensive in Moscow aimed at overcoming Russia's fierce opposition to the extension of its missile defences into Central Europe.

Washington faces a different challenge in Prague. The centre-right Czech government announced last month that it was willing to negotiate with the US over hosting a radar station, but it has no guaranteed majority in parliament which will have the final say.

Obering was unable to budge former prime minister Paroubek from altering his party's current opposition. "We do not agree with siting this part of the anti-missile system until it will be part of a NATO defence system and we want this question to be put to a referendum," Paroubek said.

Washington has held out the prospect of eventually linking its missile defence system with one still being worked out at NATO headquarters.

The US proposal has split Czech public opinion with polls in the former communist, Soviet-bloc country, showing a majority of Czechs are opposed to a US base on their soil.

Obering earlier met with President Vaclav Klaus and was later due to answer lawmakers' questions at a lower house defence committee and attend the government's State Security Council, the top forum for discussions on national defence.



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