Iran Criticizes Russia Over S-300 Missile Deal Ban

Iranian defense minister says Russia is violating a 2007 contract; Russia says UN sanctions prevent it from delivering the sophisticated systems to Iran.

The Iranian defense minister has criticized Russia for banning all sales of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran.

Russian made S-300 missile, Kremlin

Thursday's comments by Gen. Ahmad Vahidi come a day after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a decree on the ban.

Russia signed a 2007 contract to sell the sophisticated systems that could boost Iran's ability to defend against air strikes. Israel and the United States have objected to the deal, and no such missiles have been delivered yet.

The S-300 is a mobile, long-range air defense system that can detect, track and destroy ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and low-flying aircraft.

Russia has recently has shown increasing frustration with Iran's policies and has said United Nations sanctions would prevent it from delivering the S-300s to Iran.

Vahidi told Iranian state TV that the Russians are obliged to implement the 2007 contract.

Russia's ties with Israel and the United States have been warming and the Kremlin has expressed irritation with Tehran's defiance of efforts to rein in its nuclear program.

Russia angered Israel and caused U.S. concern by saying last week that it would go ahead with a $300 million sale of Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria.

Russian officials have rejected Israeli concerns that the missiles could fall into the hands of Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon.