Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
Russia ignores UN sanctions to provide Iran with missile system which could be used to defend missile sites
- Vladimir Putin gave the go-ahead to supply the S-300 missile equipment
- Moscow blocked deliveries to Iran in 2010 after the UN imposed sanctions
Russia yesterday lifted a ban on supplying Iran with an air defence missile system which could be used to protect nuclear sites.
Vladimir Putin gave the go-ahead for the deal, with the defence ministry saying it was ready to supply the S-300 missile equipment ‘promptly’.
The move is likely to anger both the U.S. and Israel at a time of heightened tensions between the world powers and following a landmark deal on nuclear weapons.
Moscow blocked deliveries of the surface to air missiles to Iran in 2010 after the United Nations imposed sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme, barring hi-tech weapons sales.
Russia yesterday lifted a ban on supplying Iran with the air defence S-300 missile system (above), which could be used to protect nuclear sites
But the Russian president lifted the ban after Tehran struck an interim deal with Britain and five other countries to curb nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.
The framework deal, reached this month, intended to significantly restrict Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons, while giving it relief from international sanctions.
The negotiations have been heavily criticized by Israel which has warned against Iran having any nuclear activities.
Russia signed the £545million ($800m) contract to sell Iran the S-300 missile system in 2007, but later suspended their delivery because of strong objections from the U.S. and Israel.
Vladimir Putin (above) gave the go-ahead for the deal, with the defence ministry saying it was ready to supply the equipment
The contract to deliver the system was heavily criticised by Israel and the U.S., who feared it could be used to protect Iranian nuclear sites.
When it was cancelled, Iran filed a lawsuit with a court in Geneva, seeking £2.7billion ($4bn) in damages for breach of contract, but the court has not yet issued a ruling.
Moscow said it had no choice but to annul the deal when the UN imposed sanctions, outlawing the sale of advanced weapons.
Despite the sanctions, Russia and Iran have remained close allies.
The deal on Iran’s suspected nuclear activities is supposed to be finalised by June 30. There is no firm agreement on how or when to lift the current sanctions.
The announcement comes as the U.S. slammed Russia for flying a fighter jet close to a U.S. reconnaissance plane in an ‘unsafe and unprofessional manner’ last week.
Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright said the U.S. was filing a complaint to Russia after the incident over the Baltic Sea, in the international airspace north of Poland.
The U.S. crew believed the Russian pilot’s action were ‘unsafe and professional due to the aggressive manoeuvres it performed in close proximity to their aircraft and its high rate of speed’, Mr Wright added.
Russian officials reportedly denied their pilot did anything wrong.
The incident was not first time the U.S. protested to Moscow what it considered to be an unsafe intercept. Last April, a Russian fighter jet intercepted a US reconnaissance plane in international airspace over the Sea of Okhotsk.