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Russia to supply S-300s to Iran despite Israel’s objections - deputy defense minister

MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. Russia has no international restrictions on supplies to Iran of S-300 air defense missile systems, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Saturday on the Ekho Moskvy radio.

"S-300s are not offensive armaments. These are defensive air defense systems. The US admits that the S-300s do not fall under the UN ban," Antonov said.

"Why can’t we supply defensive weapons to someone?" he asked.

At the same time, he said he talked to an Israeli representative and that the latter said Israel is against supplies to Iran of such systems for Iranian nuclear facilities to be open "to any actions" on the part of Israel.

On April 13, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to lift the ban on S-300 deliveries to Iran. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said April 13 that 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.

US President Barack Obama admitted Friday that he was "surprised" that Russia had not resumed its supplies of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran earlier.

"I’m frankly surprised that it [the ban on S-300 deliveries to Iran] held this long, given that they were not prohibited by [UN Security Council] sanctions from selling these defensive weapons," he said.