Russia pulls plug on Iran arms deal

Sept. 22, 2010 at 4:08 PM
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MOSCOW, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Russia has decided not to provide Iran with key military arms, complying with U.N. Security Council sanctions, the Kremlin said Wednesday.

President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree banning the delivery of S-300 air defense systems to Iran, RIA Novosti reported. Moscow had signed a deal to provide Iran with $800 million worth of S-300 equipment.

Also on Medvedev's ban list are battle tanks, armored vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, warplanes, military helicopters, ships and missiles, the Russian news agency said.

Russia took the action to comply with a U.N. Security Council resolution passed June 9.

Medvedev's decree also prohibits entry to and transit via Russia for Iranian nationals tied to the country's nuclear program. Russian individuals and legal entities also are banned from rendering financial services linked to Iran's nuclear program, RIA Novosti said.

The Russian network RT reported the chief of the Russian armed forces general staff, Nikolay Makarov, said Russia would not send the S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems to Iran because they fall under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929.

"A decision has been made not to supply S-300s to Iran. [The air-defense systems] certainly fall under the sanctions," Interfax quoted Makarov as saying. "There was an instruction from the leadership to stop the shipment and we are following it."

ITAR-Tass reported Makarov hedged on whether the big arms contract would be torn up.

"We'll see, this will depend on Iran's behavior," he said.

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