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Russian ambassador says ‘no problem’ selling S-400 to Iran when arms ban expires

Levan Dzhagaryan brushes off threat of US sanctions if Russia provides the Islamic Republic with the advanced air defense system

Illustrative: Image of Russian S-400 long-range air defense missile systems deployed at Hemeimeem air base in Syria, December 16, 2015. (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
Illustrative: Image of Russian S-400 long-range air defense missile systems deployed at Hemeimeem air base in Syria, December 16, 2015. (Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

Russia’s ambassador to Iran said Moscow would have “no problem” selling Tehran an advanced air defense system when the UN arms embargo on the Islamic Republic expires later this month.

“We have said since the very first day that there will be no problem for selling weapons to Iran from October 19,” Levan Dzhagaryan told the Resalat daily in an interview published Saturday, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.

In August, the UN Security Council voted down a US resolution to extend the arms embargo on Iran, which is now set to expire on October 18.

The Trump administration, however, unilaterally asserted last month that “snapback” UN sanctions are now in force and vowed to punish those that violate them.

Russian Ambassador to Iran Levan Dzhagaryan (Screen capture: YouTube)

Dzhagaryan brushed off the threat of US sanctions and said Moscow would consider any weapon requests from Iran after October 18.

“As you know we have provided Iran with S-300. Russia does not have any problem to deliver S-400 to Iran and it did not have any problem before either,” he said.

Dzhagaryan was referring to the delivery of the S-300 to Iran following the signing of the 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers that placed curbs on the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. In 2010 Russia froze a deal to supply the system to Iran, linking the decision to UN sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Israel unsuccessfully sought to block the sale to Iran of the S-300 system, which analysts say could impede a potential Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities, and would likely oppose providing Iran with the S-400.

An Iranian Russian-made S-300 missile is displayed during the annual military parade marking the anniversary of the outbreak of its devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, on September 22, 2017, in Tehran. (AFP/ str)

Russia in 2015 deployed the S-400 to Syria, where along with Iran it is fighting on behalf of the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war.

The deployment of the system, which is powerful enough to track the vast majority of Israeli airspace, undercut Israel’s aerial superiority in Syria, where it has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets linked to Iran and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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