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Russia lifts ban on S-300 missile system delivery to Iran

April 13, 2015 6:03 pm

Russia has lifted a ban on supplying Iran with a sophisticated air defence missile system, the Kremlin has said.

Delivery of the S-300s was cancelled in 2010 after the UN imposed sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme.

But the Russian president gave the go-ahead after Tehran struck an interim deal with world powers to curb nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

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The US and Israel have criticised the news.

The $800m (£545m) contract to deliver the system was heavily criticised at the time by Israel and the US, who feared it could be used to protect Iranian nuclear sites from air strikes.

When it was cancelled, Iran filed a lawsuit seeking billions of dollars in damages.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a statement that the sale was put on hold “entirely voluntarily” to aid the talks on Iran’s nuclear programme.

The Russian defence ministry said it was now ready to supply the S-300 equipment “promptly”, an official there said, quoted by Interfax.

Iran hailed the decision as a step towards “establishing stability and security in the region,” the country’s defence minister, Hossein Dehghan, was quoted as saying by state media.

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