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No nuclear trade-off with US: Medvedev

world Updated: Mar 30, 2009 00:26 IST
AP
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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev indicated he would not increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear program in exchange for the United States backing off on plans to deploy missile-defense elements in Eastern Europe.

"I don't think any trade-offs are possible in this respect," Medvedev said in a transcript of an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. aired Sunday.

The former U.S. administration said putting the anti-missile system in Europe was necessary to block possible attacks by so-called rogue states such as Iran, but Russia says the system is aimed at undermining its own defenses.

The dispute is expected to be the central issue when President Barack Obama and Medvedev meet on Wednesday in London, where both leaders will take part in the economic summit of the Group of 20 major and developing nations.

Obama and his administration have expressed interest in improving US-Russia relations, which deteriorated during Bush's eight years in office.

Russia has maintained close relations with Iran and built the Bushehr nuclear plant, expected to go into operation this year, that the West suspects is part of an Iranian push to develop nuclear weapons.

"Our position is based on well-known U.N. resolutions and approaches set forth by the IAEA, namely that Iran's nuclear program should be peaceful," Medvedev said.

Medvedev said Russia is "interested in securing our country and our citizens from threats posed by certain problematic states. "But the point is that this should be done though common efforts rather than by deploying any missiles or radars along our borders when a real doubt arises as to what lies behind all this. Is it done to make us nervous, or in order to really prevent some threats?" he said.

Russia has repeatedly threatened to target missiles at elements of the proposed missile-defense system if it is built.