Following Russia’s decision to lift a ban on supplying S-300 missile systems to Iran, the Israeli PM has called President Putin to express his “grave concerns” – and received a detailed explanation of defensive weapons and the logic behind Moscow’s move.
According to a statement released by the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin “gave a detailed explanation of the logic behind Russia’s decision…emphasizing the fact that the tactical and technical specifications of the S-300 system make it a purely defensive weapon; therefore, it would not pose any threat to the security of Israel or other countries in the Middle East.”
The assurances do not appear to have had the desired effect. In a statement released by his office, the Israeli PM expressed “grave concerns regarding the decision,” and told Russia’s president that this step “will only encourage Iranian aggression in the region and further undermine the stability of the Middle East.”
Russia signed an $800 million deal in 2007 to ship five S-300 divisions, which are composed of radars and multiple interception missile launchers, only to postpone the deal three years later, during the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev.
It was done as a sign of solidarity with Western partners who were imposing increasingly tough sanctions against the Islamic Republic – the missile systems themselves were never on the international sanctions list.
The reversal comes amid major progress in the negotiation framework between Iran and six leading world powers over the regulation of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, which should produce a final deal this summer.
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