[DEBATE] : US 'offers Russia deal over Iran'
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Tue Mar 3 15:36:52 GMT 2009
US 'offers Russia deal over Iran'
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
President Medvedev has not responded to reports of the letter
US President Barack Obama has written to his Russian counterpart
suggesting co-operation in blocking Iranian missile plans.
Mr Obama said the US would back off deploying a missile defence system
if Russia helped stop Iran developing long-range weapons, US media
The letter, delivered last month, was a response to an earlier Russian letter.
The Kremlin said that although co-operation on Iran and missile
defence were mentioned, they were not linked.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has not spoken publicly about the letter.
The New York Times newspaper quoted a senior Obama administration as
saying: "It's almost saying to them, put up or shut up.
"It's not that the Russians get to say, 'We'll try and therefore you
have to suspend.' It says the threat has to go away."
A missile placement at Iran's Bushehr plant
Will Russia accept US deal?
The paper added that "the letter was intended to give Moscow an
incentive to join the United States in a common front against Iran".
The Washington Post also quoted an anonymous administration source as
saying the letter included "the issue of missile defence and how it
relates to the Iranian threat".
The US says its planned missile defence system in central Europe is
intended to destroy incoming ballistic missiles potentially coming
from North Korea and Iran.
As the Iranian military says its missiles have a range of 2,000km
(1,240 miles), they could reach south-eastern Europe, potentially
hitting targets in Greece, Bulgaria or Romania, all Nato members.
But Russia says that this limited range means that the US missile
defence plan is unnecessary.
It sees Washington's plans to base such a system in Europe as a direct threat.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has previously said that
negotiations, not threats, are the best way to deal with concerns
about Iranian intentions.
He is set to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday,
with Mr Obama and Mr Medvedev due to meet for the first time on 2
April in London.
Last month, US Vice-President Joe Biden said the US wanted to "press
the reset button" in ties with Russia after a "dangerous drift" in
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