Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, Comments on Iranian Missile Test (Excerpts)

July 11, 2008

Weapon Program: 

  • Missile

Related Country: 

  • Iran

Esteemed colleagues,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome my Jordanian colleague and friend, Mr. Salah Bashir, to Moscow.

. . .

We support continuing and building up diplomatic efforts to reach agreement on Iran's nuclear dossier and hope that the discussion to be held shortly on the proposals that were delivered to Iran last month will help create the necessary conditions for this.

. . .

Question: How could you comment on Iran's missile launches of a few days ago? Can such launches influence Russia's position on missile defense?

Foreign Minister Lavrov: Russia favors, in principle, the promotion of agreements to limit missile proliferation. This position of ours is well known. We are ready to discuss legally binding arrangements, but so far only the relevant formats exist that are either recommendatory or not universal. Therefore we are convinced that efforts need to be continued towards a comprehensive legal document which would set the rules for activity in this area. Undoubtedly, in order to approach this objective talks are needed, along with equal cooperation, and it is necessary to refrain from any threats against anybody.

Overall, we are in favor of any problems which are linked to Iran being resolved through negotiation, using politico-diplomatic methods, by bringing Iran into a mutually respectful and concrete dialogue and not through periodic threats that force might be used any minute now, whereby to solve all problems at one stroke. It won't work that way.

As to missile defense, the tests in Iran have only confirmed that Iran at the moment has missiles with a range of up to 2000 kilometers. That confirms what we have said before; namely that the current idea of deploying a third GMD site of the United States of America in Europe, with its parameters, is not needed to monitor and react to these particular missiles with this range. We are still convinced of the farfetchedness of the talk about an Iranian missile threat as the motives for that site's deployment.

The need is for all who are in some way or another interested in normalizing the situation in this region and in Europe to sit down and discuss things, to sit down and come to an agreement. And the alternative is that somebody is going to threaten, that somebody is going to test missiles and somebody is going to set up a third site, but all of this will be unilateral steps at a period when collective discussion is acutely needed as well as collective arrangements. We are ready for collective work to solve all these problems. We know that these problems are of great concern to the Persian Gulf countries. We understand their anxiety and a while ago suggested that they consider in earnest the proposal to form a security system in the Persian Gulf which would contain security guarantees for each of the states located there. All of this can be done, I will reemphasize, only by collective efforts and not by unilateral actions from whatever quarter they may come.

. . .

Question: In what context was the nuclear situation surrounding Iran discussed?

Foreign Minister Lavrov: Regarding Iran, I have already said. We discussed this in the context of the necessity for Iran to cooperate with the IAEA in full. As the next step we expect that a meeting will take place to discuss the proposals which the Six delivered to Iran last month. We presume that these proposals are sweeping enough, profound enough and contain enough positive incentives in order at the end of this discussion to be able to create conditions for the preparation and subsequent conduct of negotiations.