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Russia Shelves Plan to Sell S-300 Missiles to Iran

Russia announced an about-face in its pans to sell Iran S-300 missiles but left the door open for a change in policy.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/22/2010, 12:53 PM / Last Update: 9/22/2010, 12:50 PM

 

Russia announced another about-face in its plans to sell Iran S-300 missiles but left the door open for a change in policy, depending on how Iran responds to international demands for United Nations inspection of its nuclear facilities.

"A decision has been made not to supply S-300s to Iran. They are definitely subject to the sanctions, [and] time will show. It will depend on Iran's behavior," Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov told reporters Wednesday.

Russia issued a similar announcement last June but then agreed to go through with delivery of the missile system.

"There has been an instruction from the leadership to stop the shipment, and we are obeying it," he said.

The contract for the sale of the missiles to the Islamic Republic was signed more than two years ago. The S-300 anti-aircraft missiles system can down airplanes and missiles from a range of up to 90 miles (150 kilometers).

The United States and Israel have opposed the sale. However, Russia's change in policy, due to the United Nations sanctions, does not affect its agreement to follow through with the sale of the Yakhont anti-ship missile to Syria, which Israel and the United States fear will fall into the hands of the Hizbullah terrorist army in Lebanon.