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Russia Rebuffs Iranian Request to Buy S-400 Missiles

Russia Rebuffs Iranian Request to Buy S-400 Missiles

Saturday, 1 June, 2019 - 06:15
Russian servicemen drive S-400 missile air defense systems during the Victory Day parade at the Red Square in Moscow, Russia May 9, 2018. (Reuters)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Russia has rejected an Iranian request to buy the S-400 missile defense systems, concerned that the sale would stoke more tension in the Middle East, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, revealed Bloomberg.

The request was rebuffed by President Vladimir Putin, the people said on condition of anonymity.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had visited Moscow May 7, yet it is not clear whether he made the request then.

Mohsen Rezaei, Expediency Council secretary and former chief of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, refused to be drawn on the missile request when questioned at an event in Tehran.

Iran was capable of defending itself “whether or not Russia helps us,” he said.

Bloomberg’s report coincided with US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would deploy more US forces to the region to deter Iranian threats.

Evidence that Iran has been behind recent attacks on oil tankers and pipelines in the Gulf is likely to be presented to the UN Security Council as early as next week, said US National Security Adviser John Bolton on Thursday.

Russia had completed the delivery of the S-300 air defense missile system to Iran in July 2016, concluding a USD800 million deal signed between the two states in 2007.

However, Russian suspended the agreement, drawing protest from Iran, which filed a USD4 billion lawsuit before the International Criminal Court. The lawsuit was, however, waived after Moscow approved selling the system to Tehran.

Moreover, Iran was disappointed with Russia’s rejection to use the veto against Security Council resolution 1929 that bans weapons sales to Iran. But the resolution has been lifted by virtue of resolution 2231 in July 2015.

Starting from the summer of 2020, the restrictions are expected to be lifted. This is considered one of the main gains of the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers, according to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s government.

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