Nikolai Makarov

Nikolai Makarov, the chief of the Russian Army General Staff, claims there is a possibility that Iran and North Korea could pose nuclear threats.

Ria Novosti reported on April 25 that Makarov had spoken of Iran and North Korea as nuclear threats for the first time.

Makarov reportedly told the Russia Today television network: "The threat is always there, so we closely monitor the nuclear program developments of many countries.”

He added: “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.”

He added that nuclear weapons in the hands of extremists could threaten international security. He went on to say that Russia is also part of Europe and he called for a collaborative effort with Europe to stop such threats.

Russia has so far been critical of the establishment of U.S. missile defence systems in Europe.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has maintained that U.S. missile systems in Europe would “disrupt the military balance” between the United States and Russia.

The plan for this defence system was initiated during the term of former U.S. president George Bush to fend off possible threats from Iran and North Korea.

Makarov, the Russian representative to NATO, also expressed concern that a missile defence system against Iran in Europe may be used as a launch pad for military attacks on Iran.

The West is concerned that Iran’s nuclear program may have a nuclear dimension, but Iran has continually denied the charge and says all its nuclear efforts are peaceful.

Representatives of the G5+1 met with Iran’s nuclear negotiators in Istanbul this month and are to meet once more in May to try and arrive at some sort of mutually satisfying agreement.

In the meantime, the U.S. and Europe have implemented widespread sanctions against Iran’s oil industry and financial institutions that have been directly affecting Iran’s economy.