Currently Iran already operates the S-300 anti-air defense system, but just ahead of the major UN weapons embargo set to expire this month, which the US contests, Russia has once again strongly suggested that it’s poised to transfer its more advanced S-400 system to Iran.
The latest comments on the issue were made Saturday by Russia’s ambassador to Tehran Dzhagaryan who told an Iranian newspaper Saturday it would be “no problem” for Moscow, in effect signaling a green light for such a deal.
“As you know, S-300s have already been delivered. Russia has no problem delivering S-400s to Iran. This was never a problem from the very beginning,” the ambassador said.
Russian S-400 file image
The UN arms embargo expires October 18, but Washington has vowed to go it alone in imposing ‘snapback’ sanctions after a failed UN bid to extend the embargo. European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal have denied that the US has this legal authority, given it pulled out of the JCPOA in 2018.
On that note, Amb. Dzhagaryan remarked that Russia “took a strong stance against the United States and called on the deal’s three European signatories to stand together with us.”
“But the issue I want to address is very important: the three European countries did not support the United States, but they also continue to criticize Iran’s activities in the region. On one hand, they say that the arms embargo against Iran should be lifted,” he said in the interview. On the other, they say that Iran should not continue its activities. The Russian side has said from the start that there would be no problems selling arms to Iran starting on October 19.”
Looking ahead to the UN embargo’s expiration, under two weeks ago Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov indicated to Interfax news that Russia will pursue the “opportunity” of lawful weapons sales to Iran the moment the embargo expires:
“New opportunities will emerge in our cooperation with Iran after the special regime imposed by U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 expires on Oct. 18.”
“The amount of this cooperation and the areas in which it will develop is a separate question,” he added.
Ryabkov added that Russian cooperation with the Islamic Republic has “nothing to do with the unlawful and illegal actions of the U.S. administration, which is trying to intimidate the entire world.”