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US remark joke of the year, says Iran

world Updated: Jun 04, 2007 10:40 IST

A claim by the United States that Iran poses a ballistic missile threat to Europe is laughable, Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani has said.

"It's the joke of the year," he was quoted by Iran's official state news agency as saying. "These days, the Americans tell a lot of jokes. Iranian missiles are incapable of reaching Europe and it is very unlikely that they (the Americans) do not know it."

"What is more, Europe is our biggest commercial partner. What reason would we have to do such a thing?" he said yesterday.

The United States wants to deploy elements of its anti-missile defence system in the Czech Republic and Poland, despite the objections of Russia.

Washington says it is designed to defend against a missile attack from the Middle East, notably Iran.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia would point missiles at European targets if the US expands its nuclear defences near its borders.

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