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Moscow dismisses Germany’s criticism of S-300 air defense system deal with Iran

April 15, 2015, 16:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a decree on lifting the ban on supplies of S-300 air defense systems to Iran

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Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow

Russian Foreign Ministry building in Moscow

© Sergey Savostyanov/TASS

MOSCOW, April 15. /TASS/. Russia dismisses criticism of its decision to go ahead with the supplies of air defense systems S-300 to Iran, a source at the Russian Foreign Ministry said in the wake of a recent statement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who criticized Russia for the intention to sell S-300 to Iran and called for "canceling sanctions together."

"We have always sought collective, coordinated action in the sphere of the international community’s policy of sanctions, which implies respect for the exclusive prerogatives of the UN Security Council," the source said. "When the United States and EU member-countries, including Germany, introduced illegitimate sanctions against Iran in defiance of that principle, neither Germany’s chancellor, nor any other Western leader recalled the need for acting together."

"We cannot accept reproaches addressed to Russia over its decision to terminate the voluntary suspension of absolutely legal, not prohibited systems to Iran," the diplomat said. "Such attitudes look still more strange against the background of Berlin’s obsession to follow in Washington’s footsteps to use unilateral restrictions as a foreign policy instrument."

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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