Obama refutes missile defence Vs Iran trade-off with Moscow

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Washington, Mar.4 (ANI): US President Barack Obama on Tuesday said that his letter to Moscow did not speak off a trade-off to reduce threats from a nuclear-capable Iran, but focused on the issue of a missile defense shield in Europe.

Obama denied floating any "quid pro quo" with Russia over junking a missile defense shield that Moscow opposes in exchange for Russia's help in stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons.

Fox News quoted him as saying that his recent letter to Moscow expressed his stance that reducing the threat of a nuclear Iran in turn reduces the need for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

Senior U.S. administration officials had previously suggested there was a trade-off in the letter, which they said hinted that plans for the defense shield could be unnecessary if Russian President Dmitry Medvedev helped in blocking Iran's progress toward building long-range missiles.Obama, however, walked that claim back in a session with reporters following his meeting Tuesday with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown."It was simply a statement of fact that I've made previously. And what I said in the letter was obviously, to the extent that we are lessening Iran's commitment to nuclear weapons, then that reduces the pressure for, or the need for a missile defense system," he said.Obama said he has made clear that the U.S. needs to "reset or reboot" its relationship with Russia.

The Kremlin also disputed talk of any trade-off in the letter.

In Moscow, a Kremlin source told FOX News there was no quid pro quo on Iran and missile defense in the letter, but said the correspondence was considered very positive and contained a number of initiatives.

Plans for deploying U.S. missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic, ostensibly to guard against Iranian attacks on U.S. allies in Europe, are among a host of issues that soured U.S.-Russia relations during the former Bush administration.

There have been indications that Obama might be willing to set aside the missile defense system.

A senior administration official told FOX News that the U.S. would continue to "consult with Poles and Czechs as we move forward with decisions on missile defense."

Obama and Medvedev were expected to meet at the G-20 economic summit of advanced and developing nations in London next month, according to the officials.

On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged the United States to restore diplomatic relations with Iran to stabilize the situation in the region.Lavrov is scheduled to hold talks with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Geneva on Friday in the highest-level meeting between the two nations since Obama took office.

The Obama administration has been vocal about its desire to repair rifts between the U.S. and Russia. (ANI)

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