Defense Minister Ya'alon: Russia-Iran Missile Deal 'Direct Result of Lausanne Talks'

Ya'alon says Iran continues to arm itself and its proxies, an issue he maintains was not addressed in the nuclear talks earlier this month.

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S-300 mobile anti-air missile launchers in Moscow, May 6, 2012.
S-300 mobile anti-air missile launchers in Moscow, May 6, 2012.Credit: Dreamstime

Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said on Tuesday that the sale of Russian-made S-300 anti-missile systems to Iran is a direct result of the agreement reached in Lausanne earlier this month.

"Iran keeps on arming itself and others," Ya'alon said. "The S-300 deal we are hearing about now – in fact, the Russian renewal of the deal that was put on hold over the past several years – is a direct result of the framework agreements reached at Lausanne. This is something we warned about before the details were ironed out."

The defense minister said the lifting of the ban on the sale of missiles is in fact a lifting of a sanction, which could strengthen Iran's economy.

"Meanwhile," he added, "the Iranians continue to arm elements around us. They are arming Hezbollah in the north, while supporting the fighting in Syria and in Yemen." According to Ya'alon, "this issue wasn't even discussed, and it's one of the biggest holes in the agreement – in fact outside the agreement – and it is deeply troubling."

Ya'alon said that one example of Iranian involvement in the Middle East is "an attempt from January to open a front on the Golan Heights, which was thwarted." He also said that since Operation Protective Edge, tens of millions of dollars were transferred to the Gaza Strip for Hamas and Islamic Jihad, "to help them arm themselves in light of their incapacity to transfer rockets or other weapons."

'Missiles by the end of the year'

Meanwhile, the head of the Iranian security council said Tuesday that Iran expects Russia to deliver the S-300 air defense missile system by the end of the year.

Ali Shamkhani, who heads Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said Tuesday in Moscow that the lawsuit will be withdrawn only after delivery of the S-300s, which he hoped would happen by the end of the year, Russian news agencies reported.

His Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, said delivery would take time. "It will depend on our manufacturers," he told the Interfax news agency. "I believe they will need at least six months to complete this work."

Patrushev was more cautious than Putin's spokesman, who said Monday that the missile system could be shipped to Iran at any moment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday lifted a five-year ban on delivery of the missile system to Iran, drawing criticism from the United States and Israel. The S-300 would significantly bolster the Islamic republic's military capability by providing a strong deterrent against any air attack.

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