Rus­sia bans arms de­liv­er­ies to Tehran

Los Angeles Times - - The World -

MOSCOW — Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Dmitry Medvedev is­sued a de­cree Wed­nes­day pro­hibit­ing the de­liv­ery of S-300 air de­fense mis­sile sys­tems and other weapons to Iran, the Krem­lin said.

Is­rael and the U.S. had been urg­ing Moscow to scrap plans to sell Tehran the high-pre­ci­sion mis­sile sys­tems, and Rus­sian of­fi­cials had promised not to de­liver them af­ter sup­port­ing a fresh round of U.N. sanc­tions against Iran in June.

Medvedev’s de­cree, which brings trade rules for Rus­sia and its com­pa­nies into line with the sanc­tions, will please Western na­tions that are concerned about Iran’s mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­ity and its nu­clear pro­gram.

The de­cree bars the de­liv­ery to Iran of “any bat­tle tanks, com­bat ar­mored ve­hi­cles, large-cal­iber ar­tillery sys­tems, com­bat he­li­copters, mil­i­tary ships” and mis­siles cov­ered by a U.N. reg­is­ter, as well as spare parts, the Krem­lin said.

It specif­i­cally pro­hibits the de­liv­ery of the S-300 sys­tems, which had caused fears that Iran could use them to pro­tect fa­cil­i­ties cru­cial to its nu­clear pro­gram. Western gov­ern­ments sus­pect Iran is seek­ing to de­velop nu­clear weapons, an ac­cu­sa­tion Tehran de­nies.

In line with the sanc­tions, the de­cree also bans Ira­nian in­vest­ments in com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity in­volv­ing sen­si­tive nu­clear ma­te­rial and in­cludes lists of Ira­ni­ans barred from Rus­sia be­cause of links to nu­clear or mis­sile pro­lif­er­a­tion.

While largely a for­mal­ity af­ter ap­proval of the sanc­tions, the de­cree was is­sued at a time of ris­ing con­cerns about Iran’s nu­clear and weapons pro­grams, which Rus­sian of­fi­cials rou­tinely shrugged off in the past.

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