TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - In a statement on Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the space program recently declared by the administration of US President Donald Trump would violate the practice of using outer space for peaceful purposes.
“It is obvious that the appearance of weapons in space would be contrary to the established practice of international cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes,” the statement read.
It compared the plan with the ill-fated “Star Wars” program launched by former President Ronald Reagan in the midst of Cold War rivalries between America and the former Soviet Union.
“We are deeply disappointed that the US — instead of building a constructive dialog on strategic stability and the prevention of an arms race in space — chose to return to the next version of the Star Wars program of the times of President Ronald Reagan,” it said, calling on Washington to “abandon such irresponsible adventures.”
Last week, Trump unveiled a space missile program that would seek to develop space-based sensors to detect incoming missiles.
Reagan’s “Star Wars” program, officially known as the Strategic Defense Initiative, was a similar weapons plan that was introduced in the 1980s and sought to develop new technologies for missile systems in outer space. It was, however, dropped by later administrations due to the complexity of the technology and its high costs.
The development comes as the US and Russia are already at loggerheads over a range of other issues, prominently a missile treaty that also dates back to the Cold War.
The White House has recently accused Moscow of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) — signed in 1987 — and has announced it will unilaterally stop complying with it in February. Russia has denied violating the INF and has warned against the US’s pullout.
The INF banned all land-based missiles with ranges of 310 to 3,420 miles and included missiles carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads.
A new missile developed by Russia has fueled that dispute. On Wednesday, Russia officially released the specifications of the missile for the first time, saying the weapon did not fall under the category of armaments banned by the INF.
Earlier this week, Russia also announced that it had proposed putting on a demonstration of the missile for American inspectors. Washington rejected that offer, nevertheless.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of a new arms race if the agreement collapses.