Zarif: Russian sale of S-300 to Iran is right decision, won't impact nuclear talks

Iranian foreign minister defends Russian decision to lift ban on exports of missile system.

April 15, 2015 16:01
1 minute read.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif . (photo credit: REUTERS)

LISBON - Iran's foreign minister said on Wednesday that Russia's decision to go ahead with the sale of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran is "fully legal" and has no impact on talks for a nuclear deal with major powers.

"I think it is the right decision that Russia has made, it is a contract with the good relations we have with Russia, which is fully legal and will have no impact on the (nuclear) negotiations," Mohammed Javad Zarif told journalists in Lisbon.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree lifting a ban on exports of the S-300 missile system this week. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Putin that the sale of the missile systems to Iran would only strengthen its aggressive behavior and undermine the Middle East.

The two leaders spoke by telephone on Tuesday, just one day after Russia ended its voluntary five-year ban on the delivery of the system, which would help strengthen Iran against a military attack.

Russia said that in light of the framework nuclear agreement between Iran and the six world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program, the ban was no longer necessary. Iran could receive the S-300 by the end of the year.

Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Russia’s decision was proof that the Iranian nuclear deal was dangerous. 

Tovah Lazaroff and Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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