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Kremlin names no date of S-300 delivery to Iran but stresses no restrictions apply

April 14, 2015, 12:37 UTC+3
Tehran expects Russia to deliver S-300 air defense missile systems already this year
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© Vitaly Nevar/TASS

MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. The Kremlin names no specific dates when Russia may begin to deliver air defence missile launchers S-300 to Iran but at the same time points out that no restrictions apply any more.

"In this particular case the questions of contracts - whether or not a new S-300 deal will have to be concluded - is a matter to be decided or discussed by the contracting parties, if need be," Russian presidential press-secretary Dmitry Peskov told the media.

"In general one can state this: from the legal standpoint no more restrictions apply following the signing of the decree (permitting the supplies)," Pskov said. He left unanswered the question when the deliveries may begin.

"I cannot say anything about the dates. I just do not know," he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a decree on lifting the ban on supplies of S-300 air defense systems to Iran. Tehran now expects Russia to deliver S-300 air defense missile systems already this year.

Why did Russia lift the ban?

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday Russia’s voluntary embargo on deliveries of S-300 missile systems to Iran is no longer needed due to progress in the resolution of the situation around Iran’s nuclear program.

"Initially, the decision to suspend the implementation of the contract, which was already signed and came into force, was made in September 2010," he recalled. "It was done in the interests of support for consolidated efforts of the six international negotiators to stimulate a maximally constructive process of talks on settlement of the situation around Iran’s nuclear program."

The minister particularly stressed that "it was done absolutely voluntarily."

"Resolution 1929 of the Security Council, which was approved in 2010, just like any other UN resolutions did not impose any restrictions on deliveries of air defense weapons to Iran. I will emphasize, it was done in the spirit of goodwill to stimulate progress at the talks," he said.

This year, Lavrov continued, the six international negotiators, after a regular round of talks with Iran, "stated" on April 2 in Lausanne "substantial progress in settling Iran’s nuclear problem."

"The P5+1 stated progress in the settlement of Iran’s nuclear program. Political frameworks of the final agreement were coordinated. They received a high assessment everywhere on the international arena," he said.

The P5+1 is the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France - plus Germany.

"This result was in many respects achieved because the six international negotiators worked in a consolidated manner on political settlement of the serious problem," he said. "We are convinced that at this stage, there’s no more need of such an embargo, Russia’s separate voluntary embargo."

"S-300 is an air defense missile system, which is of a purely defensive nature. It is not designed for attacks and will not put at risk the security of any regional state, including Israel, of course," Lavrov said.

"Meanwhile, for Iran, taking into account the very tense situation in the region surrounding it, modern air defense systems are very important," he said.

"This is in particular proven by an alarmingly fast development of events in the past week of the military situation around Yemen. Of course, we couldn’t but take into account commercial and reputational aspects too. As a result of contract suspension, Russia did not receive large sums we were to have received," Lavrov said.

"We see no more necessity in doing that, taking into account progress in the talks on settlement of the Iranian nuclear program and an absolutely legitimate nature of this forthcoming deal," he said.

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