The White House will shelve Bush administration plans to build a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, according to people familiar with the matter, a move likely to cheer Moscow and roil the security debate in Europe.
The U.S. will base its decision on a determination that Iran's long-range missile program has not progressed as rapidly as previously estimated, reducing the threat to the continental U.S. and major European capitals, according to current and former U.S. officials.
The findings, expected to be completed as early as next week following a 60-day review ordered by President Barack Obama, would be a major reversal from the Bush administration, which pushed aggressively to begin construction of the Eastern European system before leaving office in January.
The Bush administration proposed the European-based system to counter the perceived threat of Iran developing a nuclear weapon that could be placed atop its increasingly sophisticated missiles. There is widespread disagreement over the progress of Iran's nuclear program toward developing such a weapon, but miniaturizing nuclear weapons for use on long-range missiles is one of the most difficult technological hurdles for an aspiring nuclear nation.