MOSCOW, April 23. /TASS/. The delivery of S-300 air defense systems to Iran is not a matter of near future, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told the media on Thursday.
"I do not think that it is a matter of near future. It is far more important that a political and legal decision has been taken to open up such an opportunity," Ryabkov said.
He pointed out that the situation had changed drastically after the Russian president’s decision taken on April 13 to lift the freeze from the sale of S-300 to Iran.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing S-300 deliveries to Iran.
Under the 2007 contract, Moscow was to deliver to Tehran five divisions of the missile systems of medium range worth over $800 million.
The Iranian side paid $166.8 million in advance. However, until mid-2010 the systems were not supplied to Iran.
In September 2010, then-President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree on measures on implementing the UN Security Council’s resolution 1929 that in particular banned the S-300 supplies to Iran.
The contract was canceled and the advance payment was sent back to the Islamic Republic.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said 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."