Zarif welcomes Moscow decision to lift ban on delivery of S-300 missiles

Tehran, April 15, IRNA – Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif has welcomed Russia’s decision to lift ban on delivery of S-300 anti-air defense system.

Russian News Agency Itar-Tass quoted Zarif saying in Madrid that Moscow’s decision was a ‘positive measure’ and in the ‘right path’.

Zarif said S-300 missile is a defense system to prevent airstrikes. We ordered it to Russia years ago and signed an agreement on it.

‘Unfortunately, there have been some interference in our relations with Russia, but we welcome President Putin’s right decision to implement this agreement, and I believe that Iran and Russia are good neighbors.’

The Iranian foreign minister said, ‘We have had historical relations with Russia and expect more cooperation in strategic fields which is useful for regional peace and security in the region and struggle against extremism and violence in Central Asia.’

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a presidential decree on Monday, paving the way for the long-overdue delivery of the missile defense system to Iran. Under a contract signed in 2007, Russia was obliged to provide Iran with at least five S-300 defense systems.

However, Moscow refused to deliver the missiles in 2010 under the pretext that it is covered by the fourth round of the United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran over its peaceful nuclear program, which bars hi-tech weapons sales to Tehran.

Following Moscow’s refusal to deliver the system, Iran filed a USD four-billion suit against Russian arms firm Rosoboronexport with the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva.

Speaking of the potential delivery, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, who was also in Moscow for a meeting with security officials from Russia, China and Central Asian states, likewise said, “I believe they will be delivered this year.”

He, however, said the lawsuit would be withdrawn only after the delivery of the S-300s.