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US concerned over Iran ballistic capabilities: Official

world Updated: Jul 13, 2010 19:17 IST

The US is concerned about the steps Iran was taking to increase its ballistic missile programme, an official said today.

"The US continues to have concerns on Iran's increasing range and sophistication of its ballistic missile programme," said Frank Rose, in charge of defence policy and verification at the US State Department.

US officials have said that Iran could use its programme to potentially deliver weapons of mass destruction. Tehran denies it has a nuclear weapons programme.

Rose was speaking with reporters after addressing the Conference on Disarmament at the UN in Geneva.

"The US will consider space related arms control concepts and proposals that meet the criteria of equability and effective verifiability," Rose told the conference, calling the new policy a departure from that of former president George W. Bush.

President Barak Obama announced his new space policy two weeks ago, with an emphasis on more international cooperation.

The US continues to reject a Chinese and Russian proposal for a space arms control agreement, saying it lacks verification aspects and transparency Washington demands.

Rose said there were plans to "engage" more with Russia, China and others on space policy, and said Obama's new plan was devised after consolation with allies, including London, Berlin, Tokyo and Ottawa.

Among the less controversial issues Rose was discussing in his bilateral meetings were concerns over debris in space and environmental uses of space information.

However, land based anti-satellite technology, which the US says it rejects, is still being pursued by other countries, in a key rift between some members of the UN Security Council, including Beijing.