Washington, Mar 3 (ANI): US President Barack Obama sent a secret letter to his Russian counterpart Dmitri A. Medvedev three weeks ago, suggesting suggesting that he would back off deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Moscow would help stop Iran from developing long-range weapons.
The letter to President Medvedev was hand-delivered in Moscow by top Obama Administration officials three weeks ago, the New York Times quoted American officials, as saying.
It said the US would not need to proceed with the interceptor system, which has been vehemently opposed by Russia since it was proposed by the Bush Administration, if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.
The officials who described the contents of the message requested anonymity because it has not been made public. While they said it did not offer a direct quid pro quo, the letter was intended to give Moscow incentive to join the US in a common front against Iran.
Russia's military, diplomatic and commercial ties to Tehran give it some influence there, but it has often resisted Washington's hard line against Iran.
Moscow has not responded, but a Russian official said on Monday that Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov would have something to say on missile defense to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton when they meet Saturday in Geneva, The Times reported.
Obama and Medvedev will then meet for the first time on April 2 in London, officials said on Monday.
The plan to build a high-tech radar facility in the Czech Republic and deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland - a part of the world that Russia once considered its sphere of influence - was a top priority for then President Bush to deter Iran in case it developed a nuclear warhead to fit atop its long-range missiles.
Bush never accepted a Moscow proposal to install part of the missile defense system on its territory and jointly operate it so it could not be used against Russia. (ANI)