Plans by the US to install a missile defense system in eastern Europe to defend NATO allies are "the joke of the year," Iranian envoy Ali Larijani said Monday. "Claims by US officials that installing a missile defense system in Europe is aimed at confronting Iranian missiles and protecting Europe against Iran are the joke of the year," Larijani told the official Iranian news site IRNA in the nation's first official reaction to the US program. "The range of Iran's missiles doesn't reach Europe at all," Larijani continued. Furthermore, Larijani asserted, Europe was Iran's biggest trade partner, a fact that made an Iranian missile threat to Europe "illogical." Larijani suggested that the US's claims that the planned missile system was meant to counter a potential Iranian threat were aimed at drawing international attention away from other plans Washington might have. "It is not very unlikely that they are pursuing a bigger plan, but they say other words in their statements. Missile defense shields are propaganda to divert attention from other goals and operations," IRNA quoted Larijani as saying.