On the backdrop of an extensive Iranian military exercise to thwart aerial strikes on the country's nuclear facilities, French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Saturday said the ballistic missile threat on Europe comes from the Islamic Republic.
Sarkozy added that Iran poses the main threat of the type of rogue attack that NATO's planned anti-missile defense shield is designed to foil.
The 28 member alliance had earlier agreed on a plan to design a network of radars and interceptor rockets to shoot down missiles targeted at NATO member states, and to invite former rival Russia to take part.
Several allies have in recent years expressed concern at Iran's ballistic missile program, but fellow NATO member Turkey insisted that its neighbor not be singled out as a threat in official policy documents.
Earlier, Turkey's President Abdullah Gul expressed satisfaction over NATO's anti-missile defense shield, saying it complied with all of Ankara's requirements.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this week that his country will take part in the project only if it is given a significant amount of control.
NATO nations have also formally agreed to start reducing troop levels in Afghanistan next year and hand over control of security to the Afghans in 2014.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed an agreement Saturday for NATO to maintain a long-term presence in Afghanistan after 2014.
Leaders of the 28-member alliance including President Barack Obama reached a consensus on the handover date, first proposed by Karzai last year, on the second day of NATO's annual summit in Portugal's capital.
Rasmussen says the alliance "launched the process by which the Afghan people will become masters in their own house."
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