A published report says Washington is seeking to establish a new anti-missile site in Europe designed to stop attacks by Iran against the United States and its European allies.
The New York Times
reports Monday that Washington's proposal, also described in congressional testimony, calls for installing 10 missile interceptors at a European site by 2011. The newspaper says Poland and the Czech Republic are among nations being considered as possible sites.
The Times said the U.S. Defense Department has asked Congress for $56 million to begin work on an anti-missile site. The final cost is estimated at more than $1.5 billion.
The proposal comes amid rising concerns about Iran's suspected program to develop nuclear weapons.
Experts say Iran does not have intercontinental-range missiles and has yet to conduct a flight test of a multi-stage rocket. However, Tehran has fired Scud ballistic missiles at Baghdad and Kirkuk during its war with Iraq.
In a separate article on relations between the United States, Iran and Europe, the Times reported that four of the biggest European banks have started curbing their activities in Iran following U.S. threats of fines and lost business.
The newspaper says four banks - UBS and Credit Suisse banks of Switzerland, ABN Amro of the Netherlands, and London-based HSBC - have made varying levels of disclosures about the limits of their activities in Iran.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.