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Iran's Ballistic Missiles May Spur New Gulf Defenses

An Iranian Sajjil ballistic missile, shown on display in September at an annual military parade in Tehran. A senior U.S. official on Sunday said Washington wants to help Persian Gulf allies to field an integrated ballistic missile shield. An Iranian Sajjil ballistic missile, shown on display in September at an annual military parade in Tehran. A senior U.S. official on Sunday said Washington wants to help Persian Gulf allies to field an integrated ballistic missile shield. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

A high-level Obama insider said Washington wants to assist in fielding an integrated ballistic missile shield for Gulf allies, Reuters reports.

The planned antimissile deployments would be an answer to Iran's growing ballistic missile capacities, Frank Rose, deputy assistant secretary of State for space and defense policy, told journalists in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. The United States and its partners fear that Iran's ballistic missiles may be able to accommodate nuclear payloads. However, the Middle Eastern nation has refused to discuss the arms in talks in which Western powers are seeking to limit atomic activities that Tehran could tap for bomb development.

"As long as Iran continues to develop ballistic missiles that can threaten the United States or deployed forces and our friends and allies in the region, we will work effectively with our partners here in the [United Arab Emirates] as well as the rest of the Gulf to defend against that threat," Rose said.

He aired optimism, though, about the potential for "a successful resolution of the Iran nuclear issue."

Iran, which insists its nuclear ambitions are peaceful, on Sunday reaffirmed its position that ballistic missiles "have not and will not be the subject of any negotiations," the nation's Fars News Agency reported. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif added it is "wrong to assume that the only application [of the missiles] is carrying unconventional weapons."

Still, an unnamed U.S. government source referenced the U.N. Security Council's 2010 prohibition on all Iranian efforts involving nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.

"In some way, this will have to be addressed," the high-level insider told Reuters.

Meanwhile, an Iranian military officer announced trial flights of several new medium-range ballistic missiles, Fars News reported on Sunday.

"The laboratory production of these missiles has started and one or two samples have been test-fired," Iranian Brig. Gen. Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan said.

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