Thursday, September 23, 2010

Russia caving to US pressure in missile sale ban: Iran

TEHRAN — Iran on Thursday branded as "irrational" Russia's refusal to supply Tehran with S-300 air defence missiles and accused Moscow of bowing to US and Israeli pressure, state television reported.

"We are not happy to see Russians humiliated by America and the Zionist regime (in a way) that it could be said they write what is dictated to them," Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi told the broadcaster's website.

He said the latest UN Security Council resolution against Iran "is not clear about air defence missiles and it does not seem rational to refer to it after... months."

"Our defence has not and will not be dependent on S-300 missiles," Vahidi said, adding that he hoped Moscow would "adopt an independent course."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday signed a decree "on measures to implement the United Nations Security Council resolution 1929 from June 9, 2010," banning supplies of S-300 missiles and other arms to Iran.

Russia's move was "strongly" welcomed by the United States, which has led international efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear programme and long opposed the 2007 contract with Iran. No S-300 missiles have been delivered to Tehran.

The UN Security Council in June adopted a fourth round of sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear programme of uranium enrichment, imposing broader military and financial restrictions on the Islamic republic.

Neither the United States nor Iran's arch-foe Israel -- the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear-armed power -- has ruled out taking military action against Iran to prevent it from acquiring an atomic weapons capability.

Tehran denies charges that its nuclear programme has military aims, insisting that its atomic ambitions are peaceful.

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