Wire: National Security Adviser Says Iran Building Medium-Range Missiles
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2009 -- Newswire services this evening reported that White House National Security Adviser James L. Jones says Iran is further along than previously thought in developing medium-range missiles that could strike Western Europe and the Middle East with nuclear warheads.
"We think they are heading toward weaponiz[ing] these missiles, which obviously we want to dissuade them from doing," the retired four-star Marine general told The Washington Times, explaining why U.S. officials dramatically shifted from years of focus on guarding against longer-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
In a wide-ranging interview with a reporter from The Washington Times Friday afternoon, Gen. Jones said the government's top national security leaders met about 50 times since March before unanimously agreeing to scrap a 2006 Bush administration plan to put 10 long-range, ground-based interceptor missiles in Poland and a related radar tracking site in the Czech Republic. They are to be replaced by ship-based radar and interceptors better able to protect Europe from shorter-range missiles, he said.
Adapting to counter a changing threat from Iran has been the oft repeated reason for the president's decision to scrap the Bush European missile defense plan. However, there has been no discussion, either by government officials or in the legacy press, of what happened to countering threats from North Korea and other rogue states as a wider part of the Bush plan's rational. See 2007 State Department link for a broad outline.
(Report from newswire sources.)
Source: National security adviser says Iran advancing in building medium-range missiles