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Russia Denies Obama Inducement to Help Stop Iran

Russia denies reports that Obama sent a letter offering to drop missile shield plans in return for help in blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/3/2009, 5:25 PM

Russia has denied reports that President Barack Obama sent Moscow a letter offering to drop missile shield plans for Europe in return for help in blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb.

A spokesman for the Obama administration confirmed to The New York Times a report, which originally appeared in the Russian Kommersant newspaper, that the president included the offer in a letter. A spokesman for Russian president Dmitry Medvedev explained that President Obama sent a letter but that it included general suggestions and observations about the situation in Iran. No detailed proposals were outlined, he added.
 
The letter was hand delivered three weeks ago. Medvedev said in Madrid Tuesday that there is no connection between the missile shield program and Iran’s nuclear development.

Russia is helping to build the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran, which Tehran insists is being built to generate electricity and not for manufacturing nuclear bombs. Western fears that Iran has ulterior motives for its nuclear program serve as a major reason for plans to deploy a missile shield program, with a missile base in Poland radar site in the Czech Republic.

The plan for the missile shield has caused a chill in relations between the United States and Russia. Presidents Obama and Medvedev are due to meet next month during the G-20 summit in London, where the Russian president has said he plans to discuss the missile shield plan.