No talks with Russia on replacing S-300: Iran

mbadakhsh20130801071804900Iran’s ambassador to Russia says there are no negotiations between Tehran and Moscow over the replacement of the S-300 anti-aircraft system – which Russia is mandated to deliver to Iran under a contract – with the Antei-2500 system.

Stating that no official offer has been made by Russia to deliver the alternative system, Seyyed Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi told state-run Russian RIA Novosti on Wednesday that, “As for the Antei-2500 systems, it’s just words; there were no agreements and there are no talks.”

“We’re waiting for Russia’s concrete proposals,” he said later at a press conference, according to the report.

Under a contract signed in 2007, Russia was mandated to provide Iran with at least five S-300 defense systems.

However, Moscow refused to deliver the systems to Iran under the pretext that they are covered by the fourth round of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions against Iran.

In September 2010, then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree banning the delivery of the defense systems to the Islamic Republic.

The Islamic Republic contested the unilateral cancellation of the deal and the excuse made by Kremlin, arguing that the S-300 is a purely defensive system and irrelevant to the US-engineered sanctions.

Iran also filed a complaint against Russia’s state-run arms export company Rosoboronexport in the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva.

The official Russian news agency conceded in its report that “the ban on the S-300 deal was ordered by then-President Dmitry Medvedev, following intense lobbying by the United States.”

Russian Technologies (Rostech) CEO Sergei Chemezov said on May 30 that Moscow seeks to reach a settlement with Tehran to withdraw its lawsuit against Rosoboronexport over the canceled deal as Russia’s chances “to win the case are very slim.”

Chemezov said that the US had applied heavy pressure on Moscow to stop the agreement under the pretext that the deal was against the UNSC sanctions. The Russian official, added, however, that Washington later changed its rhetoric, saying the UN resolution did not specifically mention the S-300 system and claiming that Russia had acted on its own.

The report then cites the Moscow-based Kommersant daily as having reported in June that Russia was ready to supply the Antei-2500 air defense system, “itself a modification of the S-300 and superior to early variants of that system in capability,” adding, however, that the claim “was never officially confirmed.”

The newspaper also cited unnamed sources in the Russian arms industry “who claimed that Antei-2500, a modification originally developed for Russia’s ground forces, did not technically come under the remit of Medvedev’s ban,” but did not elaborate on the grounds for such claims.

Earlier in June, Sajjadi had rejected a proposal by Moscow to provide the Islamic Republic with the Tor anti-aircraft system as a substitute for the S-300 systems.

The Iranian ambassador to Russia also commented on the planned inauguration ceremony of Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani, reiterating that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be participating in the event and that Russia will be represented by the speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament, Sergei Naryshkin, at the August 4 event.

The report quoted Sajjadi as having said at the Wednesday press conference that Putin and Rohani are to hold their first meeting at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Bishkek on September 13.

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