By Carlo Muñoz - 11/26/13 10:14 AM EST
The tentative deal between the United States and Iran on the country's nuclear program has rendered Washington's plans for a European missile shield null and void, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“If the agreement on Iran is implemented, the reason named as a necessity to establish a missile defense system in Europe will drop away,” Lavrov told reporters in Rome on Tuesday.
But the recent deal reached between Washington, Tehran and members of the P5+1 group — the five permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany — on Iran's nuclear program takes that threat off the table, according to Lavrov.
The U.S. has agreed to lift some sanctions on Iran in exchange for the country temporarily freezing its nuclear program and submitting to inspections, according to the terms of the six-month deal.
Moscow and the White House have long been at odds over the missile defense system.
The Obama administration plans to have the massive network of land and sea-based ballistic missile interceptors in Eastern Europe in place by 2020.
American and NATO officials have already broken ground on the first missile defense radar site in Romania.
But Russia remains adamantly opposed to the shield, arguing the weapons designed to counter the Iranian threat could easily be used to take out Russian-operated missile systems stationed in the region.