German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke out on Tuesday against Russia's decision to prepare to deliver missile systems to Iran, and his Italian counterpart suggested it was too soon to reestablish economic ties with Iran.
The foreign ministers were speaking in the northern German city of Luebeck. About 3,500 police, many clad in riot gear and equipped with water canons, were on the streets to protect a meeting of Group of 7 foreign ministers amid fears of another anti-capitalist rally like the violence that broke out in Frankfurt last month in front of the European Central Bank's headquarters.
"We're in the middle of a process," Steinmeier told reporters, referring to Iran. "I've told some US senators that they should not now try to unnecessarily impede further negotiations. But I'll also say that it is also too early to talk about rewards at this stage."
The Kremlin confirmed on Tuesday that an oil-for-goods barter deal between Russia and Iran was being implemented, and officials said the road was clear for Moscow to supply an advanced S-300 anti-missile system to Tehran.
The latest statements from Moscow coincide with politically sensitive negotiations on a final accord between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany on Tehran's disputed nuclear program.