Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Obama wants to trade anti-missile system for Russian help with Iranian nukes

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - U.S President Barack Obama has offered to back off deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Russia helps stop Iran from building nuclear weapons, The New York Times reported on Monday.

Obama offered the deal in a letter hand-delivered to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Moscow last month by top administration officials, the newspaper reported, citing U.S. officials it did not identify.

A senior U.S. official confirmed to Reuters that Obama had sent a letter on the subject to his Russian counterpart.

"We can confirm that President Obama sent a letter to President Medvedev," the senior U.S. official said.

"The letter touched on a range of subjects, including missile defense and how it relates to the Iranian threat."

Russia vehemently opposes the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. The system was proposed by the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Moscow has not yet responded to Obama's offer, the report said.

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