Russia has lifted the delivery ban on S-300 missile air defense systems to Iran and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the voluntary and unilateral ban imposed by Moscow was no longer necessary after being introduced by former President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010. The decision was welcomed by Tehran and Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said the decision would boost the levels of cooperation in all fields and stability in the region.
Lavrov said there was no need for countries to be worried because the S-300 air defense missile system in purely for defensive purposes and “will not put at risk the security of any state in the region, including Israel.” He noted that “a modern air defense system is now very relevant to Iran” considering “the severe escalation of tensions” in the region “especially the rapid development of military activity in Yemen in recent weeks.”
Israel has already raised concerns about the move and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz pointed fingers at the nuclear framework deal which he claims is giving “legitimacy” to Iran and is being exploited by Tehran to arm itself.
Chairman Alexei Pushkov, of Russia’s State Duma committee on international affairs, told reporters that the lifting of the ban will effectively “reduce a military threat and prevent a possible military conflict, because you know that the United States and Israel have political forces that have spoken and continue to speak for a military solution” regarding Israel’s nuclear program.
Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said “extra-regional threats and the spread of terrorism by Takfiri groups have increased the need to further expand cooperation” Russia and Iran.