Tehran, April 19, IRNA – A top Russian official has defended Russia’s recent decision to deliver S-300 missile systems to Iran, highlighting that Moscow faces no international restrictions on the supplies.
“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,” Tass news agency quoted Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov as saying on Saturday.
“Why can’t we supply defensive weapons to someone?” he added.
Referring to the Israeli regime’s opposition to the planned delivery, Antonov said he talked to an Israeli representative who said Israel is against supplies of such systems to Tehran for Iranian nuclear facilities to be open “to any actions” on the part of Tel Aviv.
On April 13, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a presidential decree, paving the way for the long-overdue delivery of the S-300 missile shield systems to Iran.
The move, which hugely irked the Western governments and their regional allies, is viewed as a milestone in Tehran-Moscow’s already growing relations.
Israel was one of those who immediately expressed concern over Putin’s decision, with Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz saying that the move could help Iran advance in the Middle East. US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf also said her country opposes Russia’s decision as it would help what she claimed to be Iran’s destabilizing role the Middle East.
However, US President Barack Obama on Friday said he was not surprised about Russia’s move to lift a ban on delivering S-300 air defense systems to Iran because the sale was not prohibited by sanctions and the weapons are defensive.
Moscow had put a ban on the delivery of the system to Tehran in 2010 under the pretext that the agreement it signed with Iran in 2007 was covered by the fourth round of the United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. The resolution bars hi-tech weapons sales to the Islamic Republic.