S-300 Decree Inspires Sense of Commitment

S-300 Decree Inspires Sense of Commitment

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow's move to lift a ban on the delivery of S-300 missiles to Iran should inspire other countries to honor the commitments they take on in their international relations.

"The cancellation of the ban on the sale of S-300 anti-aircraft rocket systems to Iran carries a certain message for all other countries to remain committed to their undertakings," Putin was quoted by Fars news agency as saying.

He made the remarks in a meeting with Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani in Moscow on Thursday.

Shamkhani, for his part, praised Russia for playing a constructive role in the political developments at regional and international levels, saying the decision to lift the ban will contribute to expansion of Tehran-Moscow relations.
In another development, the defense minister hailed Putin's decree to lift the ban as indicative of a mutual "political will" to boost ties.

"The decree is the translation of the political will in both countries' leaders to raise the level of bilateral ties in all fields," IRNA quoted Lieutenant General Hossein Dehqan as saying on Monday.

"Increasing bilateral cooperation (with Russia) and expansion of cooperation with other neighboring countries in various fields can prove highly effective in establishment of lasting stability and security in the region."

Referring to the activities of terrorist groups in the region, Dehqan said, "Extra-regional threats and expansion of terrorist activities of takfiri groups (which accuse followers of some other Islamic sect of being unbelievers) have increased the need for closer cooperation," and have always been a focal point in the consultations between Iranian and Russian officials.

Moscow and Tehran signed an $800 million deal in late 2007 on the purchase of S-300 missile systems, but three years later Russia decided not to ship the air defense systems to Iran under the pretext that it was covered by the fourth round of the United Nations Security Council sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program. In 2013, Russians announced that Iran-bound S-300 anti-aircraft systems were dismantled and recycled, which prompted Iran to file a complaint on the issue with the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva.

Dehqan and his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu held a meeting in Tehran on January 20, which was followed by Russia's RIA state news' report that the issue was once again under discussion.

Moscow announced a decision on February 23 to offer Iran its latest Antey-2500 anti-aircraft missiles instead of S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

The Kremlin canceled the ban on the delivery of the advanced anti-missile system to Tehran on Monday, a move that has drawn a response from the United States.

In a press briefing on Monday, US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said, "Well, we've certainly made our concerns with the sale of the S-300 system to Iran known for some time. This certainly isn't new. The secretary raised those concerns in a call with (Russian) Foreign Minister Lavrov this morning."

The Kremlin's decision will not have an impact on the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the major powers, including Russia, over Tehran's nuclear program to work out the final details of a comprehensive deal by a June-30 deadline, she added, according to the website of the State Department.


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