S-300 MISSILES on launcher trucks 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
MOSCOW — The head of Russia's arms manufacturer reportedly said Thursday it will return Iran's advance payment for the air defense missiles whose delivery was canceled by the Kremlin.
Sergei Chemezov, head of the state-controlled Russian Technologies holding company, was quoted by Russia's news agencies as saying that Russia will return $166.8 million it received as payment from Iran.
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He said that Russia owes nothing else to Iran, since the 2007 contract for the delivery of the S-300 missiles was canceled because of UN sanctions on Iran.
Iranian officials have criticized Moscow's move and accused it of caving in to US pressure. The United States and Israel have strongly objected to the deal, which would have significantly boosted Iran's air defense capability.
However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he opposes the sanctions
"They are a violation, even without mentioning the legal aspect," he said.
Lavrov appeared to take issue with separate sanctions passed against
Iran by the US and EU in addition to the UN Security Council sanctions.
"If we work jointly, and if our Western partners are saying all the time
that it is necessary to maintain a consolidated position on Iran, we
need to decide whether we will have a consolidated position on all
issues... but if something cannot be achieved, individual states will do
it beyond agreements reached with the Security Council."
Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi also criticized the Russians
following the announcement that the S-300 deal would be canceled.