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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ivanov Seeks to Scrap '87 Missile Treaty With U.S.

ReutersSergei Ivanov reacting during a news conference Friday in Seville, Spain.
MUNICH, Germany -- Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov on Sunday called for the repeal of a 1987 treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union eliminating medium-range missiles, describing it as "a relic of the Cold War."

"Today, North Korea, China, India, Pakistan, Iran and Israel all have short-range or intermediate-range missiles," Ivanov told reporters. "Only two countries do not have the right to have them, the United States and Russia. This cannot go on forever."

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, negotiated between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1987, eliminated an entire class of medium-range missiles that had been based in Europe.

Under its provisions, the United States destroyed about 850 of its missiles while the Soviet Union broke up 1,850 rockets with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Speaking on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich, Ivanov said the time had come for the two parties to consider ending INF. "We are concerned that this relic of the Cold War still exists, while everybody else has free hands to do whatever they want," he said.

Ivanov said most of the countries deploying medium-range missiles remained very far from developing intercontinental ballistic rockets.

Referring to North Korea's failed test of a long-range system last July, Ivanov said the flight had lasted "a maximum of 30 seconds." But he pointed out that while these missiles could not reach Europe or the United States, Russia and Israel lay well within their range.

Ivanov's comments came two days after he criticized U.S. moves to deploy parts of its missile-defense system in Eastern Europe. Ivanov, speaking at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Spain, said the plan to base interceptor rockets and radars in Poland and the Czech Republic appeared to be aimed at shooting down Russian weapons.

The United States announced last month that it had opened negotiations with Poland and the Czech Republic as part of the Pentagon's expanding missile-defense system to base similar technologies in their countries.

Ivanov had raised similar objections in recent weeks, but U.S. officials insisted he also had acknowledged there was little threat posed by the system to Russian missiles. Asked whether he understood Russian objections, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates replied Friday: "Not really."