Obama Surprised Russian Ban on S-300 Missiles Sale to Iran ‘Held This Long’

© AP Photo / FileA Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system is on display in an undisclosed location in Russia
A Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system is on display in an undisclosed location in Russia - Sputnik International
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US President Barrack Obama told reports on Friday he was surprised that Russia adhered to a ban on deliveries of S-300 air defense systems to Iran for so long.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree lifting the ban that was originally put in place following the 2010 UN Security Council embargo on arms deliveries to Iran.

“I am frankly surprised that it [the ban on S-300 air defense systems to Iran] held this long given that they were not prohibited by sanctions from selling these defensive weapons.”

S-300 missile system - Sputnik International
No Reasons to Keep Embargo on Providing Iran With S-300 Missiles - Putin
On Thursday, Putin said that there were no reasons for Russia to keep the embargo on providing Iran with S-300 air defense systems, underlining that it is a purely defensive weapon.

“When I say I am not surprised given some of the deterioration in the relationship between Russia and the United States, and the fact that their economy is under strain, and this was a substantial sale,” Obama said.

Also on Thursday, Iran’s Defense Ministry said the S-300 deal could be closed by the end of 2015.

In 2007, Russia agreed to deliver five S-300PMU-1/SA-20 Gargoyle SAM systems (40 launchers) to Iran for about $800 million. However, in June 2009 the UN Security Council introduced sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear program. Russia joined the sanctions and suspended military sales to Iran.

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