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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran Sanctions Won't Bar Missile Deal With Iran

The Foreign Ministry said Thursday that new UN sanctions do not forbid the delivery of S-300 air-defense missiles to Iran.

Israel and the United States have urged Russia not to supply the missile systems, which would substantially increase Iran's defense capability. Russia agreed to sell the missiles in 2007 but has not yet delivered them.

The UN Security Council resolution passed Wednesday bans Iran from developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, investing in nuclear-related activities and buying certain types of heavy weapons.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko told journalists that the UN resolution does not apply to air-defense systems, with the exception of shoulder-fired missiles.

Mikhail Dmitriyev, head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, which oversees arms trade, also said the new UN resolution wouldn't affect the S-300 deal.

"Russia is in no way bound by the UN Security Council resolution in relation to supplies of the S-300 air-defense systems to Iran, and work on that contract is under way," Dmitriyev said, Itar-Tass reported.

He added that the UN resolution has "left a broad field" for other Russian cooperation with Iran in the military sphere.

"Restrictions being introduced refer only to offensive weapons. But there are also other issues on which we will keep working with Iran," he said without elaboration.

Russia has sold other air-defense missiles, aircraft and weapons to Iran.

It is also building Iran's first nuclear power plant in the southern port of Bushehr, which is expected to come on line in August. Nesterenko said the UN resolution wouldn't affect the Bushehr project.

Nesterenko and Dmitriyev spoke after Interfax, citing an unidentified source, reported that the S-300 contract would be frozen because of the new UN sanctions.

The Foreign Ministry also has warned that Russia will retaliate if the new UN sanctions lead to separate sanctions against Russian companies or individuals.

Two Russian scientific institutes and the state arms trader had been under U.S. sanctions aimed at punishing organizations suspected of helping Iran develop missiles and nuclear weapons, but those measures were lifted last month as Washington sought Moscow's support for the tougher UN sanctions.

"We cannot ignore signals reaching us about the intention of some of our partners … to start considering additional, tougher restrictive measures against Iran than those provided for under the UN Security Council resolution," the ministry said in a statement late Wednesday.

If any new measures lead to sanctions being imposed on Russian companies or individuals, Russia would retaliate, the ministry said. It did not elaborate.