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Iran Press TV

Russia rejects US criticism of Moscow granting Snowden asylum

Iran Press TV

Fri Aug 2, 2013 3:3PM GMT

A senior Russian official has rejected Washington's criticism of Moscow for granting temporary asylum to US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Alexei Pushkov, head of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Friday that the US should blame itself for the affair.

'Because they closed all escape routes, the US left Moscow with no choice,' said Pushkov on Twitter.

Snowden had been unable to leave Moscow's Sheremtyevo Airport
since Washington revoked his passport after he arrived to Russia from Hong Kong on June 23.

On August 1, Snowden was allowed to leave the airport after Russia granted him temporary asylum.

Washington said afterwards that it was "extremely disappointed" over Moscow's decision.

In addition, US Senator John McCain urged action against Russia, saying "now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with (President Vladimir) Putin's Russia."

McCain proposed that Washington "should push for the completion of all phases of our missile defense programs in Europe, and move expeditiously on another round of NATO expansion, including the Republic of Georgia."

Snowden is wanted by the US, where he is facing charges of espionage and theft of government property.

In June, Snowden leaked two top secret US government spying programs, under which the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

CAH/SS



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