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New U.S. Approach to Missile Defense Is Based on Threat Analysis - Pentagon

MOSCOW. Oct 4 (Interfax) - When the United States decided to change its plans in missile defense, it did not count on reciprocal steps on the part of Russia, specifically regarding the Iranian nuclear program or deliveries of S-300 missile systems to Tehran.

"The new approach which we have decided upon for missile defense was based on an analysis of the threats and of the available technologies, and was not presented as something on which we expected any quid pro quo," ," U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow said in an interview with Interfax.

At the same time, "the issue of the possible Russian transfer of the S-300 is a very critical issue in its own right," he said. "We have said to Russia many times that we believe that that system could be very destabilizing in the region, and therefore have urged Russia to exercise restraint," he said.

"So this is not something which we are negotiating on but simply something that we believe that Russia should see as in its own interest," Vershbow said.

As for the new configuration of U.S. missile defense, "we look forward to further consultations with Russia to explain in greater detail than we have thus far the characteristics of the new system," he said.

Vershbow stressed that the overall architecture of the system does not present any threat to Russia's strategic nuclear forces.

"It is a new system and we are fully prepared to engage in consultations with Russia to answer any questions and to explore possibilities for cooperation," he said.

"Iranian ballistic missiles are a potential threat not just to NATO but to all countries within range of these systems," Vershbow said.

"Cooperating on either a U.S.-Russia or a NATO-Russia basis would be a very valuable way to strengthen our common security," he said.

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