US President Barack Obama on Thursday
shelved a Bush-era plan for an Eastern European missile defense plan
that has been a major irritant in US relations with Russia. He said a
redesigned defensive system would be cheaper, quicker and more
effective against the threat from Iranian missiles.
Obama said the plan was scrapped in part
because, after a review, the US has concluded that Iran is less focused
on developing the kind of long-range missiles for which the system was
originally developed, making the building of an expensive new shield
unnecessary. New technology also has arisen that military advisers
decided could be deployed sooner and more effectively, he said.