Will Iranian Nuclear Deal Mean the End of SM-3 Ashore?

by Larry Dickerson, Missile Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Russian officials are claiming the Iranian nuclear deal with the international community negates the need for U.S.-sponsored missile defenses in Europe.  The United States and its European allies are building a limited missile defense shield on the continent.  Russia is very opposed to this plan.

The U.S. and its allies plan to install SM-3 land-based missile interceptors at two bases in Europe: one in Romania and another in Poland.  These interceptors will be part of the AEGIS Ashore system.  This system aims to provide Europe with a defensive capability against a limited ballistic missile attack by rogue nations, such as Iran and North Korea, according to U.S. officials.

Russia sees this system as an attempt to degrade the deterrent value of its nuclear forces.  According to Moscow, the United States no longer needs to pursue this missile defense program for Europe since the Iranian nuclear deal eliminates the threat.

The agreement bans Iran from selling ballistic missiles, but does not stop Tehran from developing new and longer range systems.  So while this deal “might” reduce the chances of Europe getting hit by an Iranian nuclear weapon, it does nothing to lessen the growing threat from Tehran’s ballistic missiles.

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