Russia to supply S-300 missiles to Iran, Israel raises alarm

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Moscow: President Vladimir Putin on Monday lifted a ban on supplying Iran with sophisticated S-300 air defense missile systems, the Kremlin said, after Tehran struck a deal with the West over its nuclear program.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the move Monday to end the ban on shipping the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran was prompted by the recent progress in talks over Tehran’s nuclear program. The ban had been in place since 2010.

“We are convinced that at this stage, there’s no more need of such an embargo, Russia’s separate voluntary embargo,” Lavrov said, according to the Russian news agency Tass.

The decision was also applauded by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who called the move “a step in the right direction.”

“We are looking to ever expanding our relationship with our neighbors, as well as with the rest of the world,” Zarif said in Madrid, alongside his Spanish counterpart. “But Russia is an important neighbor for us, an important partner.”

However Israel is alarmed over the move. Israeli officials said supply of the system to Iran could prevent any military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Channel 2 news reported. The officials said the supply, if it goes ahead, would change the balance of power in the region. The TV report also cited unnamed American officials responding with concern to the news.

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