Iran General NewsRussia bans some weapons exports to Iran

Russia bans some weapons exports to Iran

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Wall Street Journal: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a decree prohibiting the delivery of S-300 air-defense missile systems to Iran, explicitly halting a politically sensitive and long-delayed weapons deal with a longtime trading partner.

The Wall Street Journal

By RICHARD BOUDREAUX And ALAN CULLISON

MOSCOW—Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a decree prohibiting the delivery of S-300 air-defense missile systems to Iran, explicitly halting a politically sensitive and long-delayed weapons deal with a longtime trading partner.

The measure brings trade rules for Russia and its companies into line with the latest round of United Nations sanctions against Iran in June, which Moscow supported. The announcement of the decree on the Kremlin’s Web site Wednesday coincided with a new offer to Iran by Russia, the U.S., the three other U.N. Security Council members and Germany to enter negotiations over its nuclear program.

Mr. Medvedev’s action barred Russia from supplying tanks, fighter jets, helicopters, ships and missile systems to Iran. It specifically mentioned the S-300s, a mobile, long-range air defense system that can detect, track and destroy ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and low-flying aircraft.

The U.S. and Israel had lobbied Russia to scrap plans to fulfill its 2007 deal to supply the S-300s, which Iran could use to protect its nuclear facilities from attack. Western governments suspect that some of those facilities are involved in developing a capacity to make nuclear weapons.

In response to the lobbying, Russia had put the deal on hold but had given conflicting signals about whether it would continue a policy of restraint.

Mr. Medvedev’s decree “is a message to the Iranians that they should not wait around for the Russians to change their minds, that they should go to the negotiating table,” said Ivan Safranchuk, an analyst at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

He added: “There is a signal to the Americans that Russia is living up to the commitment of the reset in relations.”

Gen. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the Russian armed forces general staff, told reporters Wednesday that the military would comply with the government orders not to supply the missiles. But he declined to say whether the supply contract would be canceled permanently.

“We will see,” he said, according to Interfax news agency. “This will depend on Iran’s behavior.”

Mr. Medvedev’s decree also barred 13 Iranian officials involved in the country’s nuclear program from entering Russian territory.

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