Moscow, April 24 (IANS) Russia’s military leadership has for the first time acknowledged a nuclear threat from Iran and North Korea.
“The threat is always there, so we closely monitor the nuclear programme developments of many countries,” Army General Nikolai Makarov, the chief of the General Staff, told RT television.
“The analysis that we conducted together with the Americans confirms that, yes, there is a probability that the threat exists. And we agreed that it is necessary to create a missile defence system,” Makarov said.
The Russian Defence Ministry previously held that there was no nuclear threat to Europe and Russia from Iran and North Korea because they did not have the capacity to build nuclear weapons or deliver them.
“Many countries that claim not to possess nuclear weapons do in fact have them,” Makarov said.
“Certainly, if it gets into the hands of extremists, it represents a threat to international security,” Makarov said.
He added that in order to counter these threats, Russia is ready to work together with other countries.
North Korea has conducted two underground nuclear weapon tests, in 2006 and 2009.
The US and other western countries suspect Iran of developing nuclear weapons under the guise of peaceful nuclear energy programme. Tehran denies the charges, saying its nuclear programme is aimed at meeting the country’s electricity needs.
In April, South Korean media reported that intelligence indicated North Korea was preparing a third in a row underground nuclear test. The information was based on satellite photographs of North Korean test site, where underground nuclear test had been previously conducted.