MOSCOW — The new UN sanctions prevent Russia from delivering S-300 air-defense missiles to Iran, a Kremlin official said Friday, in a reversal of the position announced by Russia’s Foreign Ministry the day before.
The Kremlin statement was sure to please Israel and the United States, which have long urged Russia not to supply the powerful missile system. Russia signed a deal to sell the missiles in 2007, but has delayed their delivery.
The UN resolution does not specifically prohibit Russia from supplying the S-300, the US State Department spokesman said. “However, for the first time, the resolution calls for states to exercise vigilance and restraint in the sale or transfer of all other arms and related materiel,” spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters in Washington. “We appreciate Russia’s restraint in the transfer of the S-300 missile system to Iran.”
Here’s betting the Russians find a way to say they’re allowed to sell Iran the S-300 if (when?) the US Congress passes sanctions against Iran’s oil industry that don’t exempt Russia.