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NY Times: Obama Offered Russia Missile Defense Deal

UPDATE: At about 8 a.m. Eastern time, the Associated Press reported that President Medvedev said the U.S. had offered no tradeoff on missile defense involving Iran, but that his government would "cooperate" with the White House on dealing with Tehran.

President Obama sent a secret letter to his Russian counterpart offering to drop U.S. missile defense plans for installations in Eastern Europe in exchange for Russia convincing Iran to stop any long-range or nuclear weapons development, according to a report in the New York Times.
(AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
The Times' report, which cited "American officials" speaking to the newspaper on Monday, said the letter was hand-delivered to President Dmitry Medvedev (at left) by Obama administration officials in Moscow last week.

The reported proposal by Mr. Obama was not, the unnamed officials told the paper, a commitment by the White House to stop plans for the ballistic missile interception system if Moscow agreed simply to pressure Tehran into halting weapons programs.

"It's almost saying to them, put up or shut up," the Times quoted a senior administration official as saying. "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."

According to the report, Moscow has made no official response to the proposal, but Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was expected to "have something to say on missile defense" when he meets Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday in Geneva.

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