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WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama suggested to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that the United States would back off plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe in exchange for help stopping Iran from developing long-range weapons, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Obama made the proposal in a secret letter that was hand-delivered to Medvedev three weeks ago, the Times reported, citing anonymous U.S. sources.
Russia has vigorously opposed the missile shield, which would include sites in the Czech Republic and Poland, since it was proposed by the Bush administration. The stated aim of the shield is to deter Iran from launching nuclear-tipped missiles at U.S. allies in Europe.
According to the Times, Obama's letter said the U.S. would not need to build the missile defense system if Iran's efforts to build a nuclear weapon were halted.