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Iran expects S-300 supplies in 2015 — Security Council chief

April 14, 2015, 11:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council said Vladimir Putin's decision to lift ban on S-300 supplies to Iran was a kind of a signal for ensuring security in the region
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S-300 air defense systems

S-300 air defense systems

© Vitaly Nevar/TASS

MOSCOW, April 14. /TASS/. Iran expects Russia to deliver S-300 air defense missile systems in 2015, the head of the Islamic Republic's Supreme National Security Council said on Tuesday.

"I think they will be supplied this year," Ali Shakhmani told reporters.

He said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to lift ban on S-300 supplies to Iran was "a kind of a signal for ensuring security in the region given Iran's important role in this."

Shakhmani said S-300 supplies were "unessential issue in bilateral relations" with Russia.

"The removal of this obstacle will boost the development of our bilateral ties," he said.

"I believe Iran and Russia have huge possibilities in our strategic relations," Shakhmani added.

Putin’s decision to lift embargo on the deliveries of S-300 air defense missile systems comes in the wake of progress achieved at the Iran nuclear talks in Switzerland over a week ago paving the way for the international community to gradually lift sanctions from the Islamic Republic.

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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