Russia bans arms deliveries to Tehran
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.