Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to lift the ban on supplies of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran.
“The decree cancels the ban from transit through Russia (including by air), transportation outside the territory of Russia to the Islamic Republic of Iran and also handover to the Islamic Republic of Iran outside the territory of Russia with the use of ships and aircraft flying the Russian state flag of the air defense missile systems S-300,” the Kremlin’s press-service has said.
The decree is effective immediately.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to make a statement on the decision to lift the ban soon.
It introduces amendments to the presidential decree of September 22, 2010 on measures for implementing the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1929 of June 9 2010. The sub-item concerning S-300 has been removed from it.
The implementation of the Russian-Iranian contract of 2007 for supplying the S-300 systems was suspended following the introduction of sanctions against Iran in September 2010. Tehran later protested that decision in court.
Shortly after Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu visited Iran last January the US Department of State said that supplies of Russian air defense systems to Iran would be unacceptable. In the meantime, Iran has repeatedly voiced the hope Russia would eventually agree to provide the launchers.
The head of the Rostech corporation, Sergey Chemezov, in February said that Russia had offered Tehran to buy the upgraded system Antey-2500 instead of S-300 and that Iran was still considering that option and remained undecided. The US Department of State said it had no objections to Russia’s alternative proposal to Iran.
S-300 systems (NATO reporting name SA-10 Grumble) are designed to defend major facilities from air attacks. They are considered to be some of the world’s most capable anti-aircraft missile systems.
Meanwhile the Pentagon slammed the Russian move to sell missiles to Iran.