MOSCOW, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov said Friday the U.S. need to contain Iran with a missile defense problem is "no longer valid."
The U.S. government says it needs a missile defense system in Eastern Europe to protect the region from threats emanating from North Korea and Iran. Meshkov said last month's interim nuclear deal between Iran and its Western negotiating partners suggested the risk from Iran was eliminated.
"We have always heard from our [U.S.] partners that their reasons for taking steps to build the missile defense system were over concerns about Iran's nuclear program," he was quoted as saying by state news agency RIA Novosti. "Now, [as] we see it, those concerns are no longer valid."
Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his State of the Nation address Thursday there could be no rival to Russia's military advantage in the region.
The Kremlin has sought assurances the U.S. missile defense system wouldn't target strategic Russian interests in Eastern Europe. Putin's administration has expressed concern the system would upset the regional balance of power.