Iran official: Russia obligated to complete S-300 sale
Esmail Kowsari tells Mehr news that Iran would develop its own missile defense system in case planned deal falls through due to recent UN sanctions.
Russia should fulfill its obligations and complete the sale of the S-300 defense system to Iran, and senior Iranian official told the Russian Mehr news agency on Sunday,
The statement came just a few days after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reportedly clarified to French President Nicolas Sarkozy that Moscow would freeze the delivery of surface-to-air missiles to Iran.
Russia has a contract to sell S-300 missiles to Tehran and there was confusion whether the deal could go ahead under the terms of a fourth round of United Nations sanctions introduced earlier this week to penalize Iran over its nuclear program.
On Sunday, Esmail Kowsari, Deputy Head of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told the Russian news agency that Russia, despite Putin's reported statement, was "bound by an agreement to provide Iran with the advanced defense system."
"Russia should abide by agreements made between the two countries and deliver the system to Iran," Kowsari told Mehr.
The senior Iranian official added that if Russia eventually refused "to deliver the systems, we are well capable of producing missile defense systems that are very much similar to Russia's S-300 apparatus."
Since the UN sanctions resolution against Iran was approved last Wednesday, Russia has released several contradicting reports regarding it missle deal with Iran. Russia said on Thursday it was in discussions with Iran on possible new nuclear power plants in the Islamic state, the country's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.
"We are discussing these [new plants] with our Iranian partners, we are practically discussing this now," Lavrov said.
Israel and the United States have asked Russia not to deliver the missile systems, which can shoot down several aircraft or missiles simultaneously and could potentially be used to protect nuclear facilities.
Western diplomats in Moscow believe Russia is eager to keep the deal in reserve as a bargaining chip. Iran has expressed increasing frustration over the unfulfilled contract.