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Russia’s S-300 missile systems’ supplies to Iran may begin any moment — Putin’s spokesman

April 13, 2015, 21:03 UTC+3
Vladimir Putin's decree stipulates no delays, Dmitry Peskov told journalists adding that the second provision of the decree states that it comes into force on the day it was signed
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S-300 air defense missile system

S-300 air defense missile system

© ITAR-TASS/Dmitry Rogulin

MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. Supplies of Russian S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran may begin any moment in line with the relevant decree signed by the Russian president earlier in the day, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday to lift the ban on the supplies of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran. The ban was imposed in 2010.

"The decree stipulates… no delays," Peskov told journalists adding that the second provision of the decree states that "it comes into force on the day it was signed."

Putin’s decision on Monday 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.

Peskov said that today’s official commentary by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the possible supplies of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran "fully reflects our [Kremlin’s] position."

Lavrov said earlier in the day that Russia’s voluntary embargo on deliveries of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran was no longer in need 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," Lavrov said. "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 in regard to the Iranian 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 fast alarming 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.

Iran says it needs nuclear power to generate electricity, but Western powers led by the United States claim Tehran's eventual aim is to create nuclear weapons.

At a meeting in Vienna in November 2014, the P5+1 and Tehran agreed to extend the deadline for a deal in the talks on Iran’s nuclear program to June 30, 2015.

The latest round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 in Lausanne, Switzerland, ended April 2 with the conclusion of a joint comprehensive action plan on the Iranian nuclear program, to be adopted by June 30.

As the plan is being implemented, all political and economic sanctions are to be lifted from Tehran. Meanwhile, on April 9 media quoted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as saying that if sanctions are not lifted first, Iran will not sign the nuclear deal with the six international negotiators.

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