Russian newspapers are reporting this evening that President Barack Obama has offered to abandon America’s controversial missile defense shield program in Eastern Europe in return for Russian help in stopping Iran’s civilian nuclear program.
Such a move had been speculated about weeks ago, but the papers are citing unnamed White House sources claiming the Obama Administration has now formally, though secretly, made the offer. There was no indication so far what the response of the Russian government might be.
The missile shield, already falling behind schedule when the Bush Administration was still in office, was ostensibly directesd at Iran, though the sites fall several hundred miles outside of the range of the best Iranian missiles. Its close proximity to Russia has sparked threats that the sites would be targeted as Russia-NATO ties have worsened. President Obama had previously been non-committal about continuing the program, much to the consternation of the Polish government which was to host the interceptor missiles.