Russia continues S-300 ambiguity
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
Following the imposition of a new round of sanctions on Iran, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says Moscow will "freeze the delivery of the S-300 missiles" to the Islamic Republic.
According to a French presidential aide, Putin made the commitment in a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Friday, the Associated Press reported.
Reacting to the Russian premier's stance, the French president praised the decision describing it as an "extremely courageous measure."
The French presidential aide also added that Putin had said the decision to support the fourth round of sanctions against Iran was not "exactly easy."
The decision to freeze the delivery of the S-300 systems to Iran comes as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier on Thursday that Moscow would go on with a contract to deliver the S-300 air defense system to Tehran.
"As far as military-technical cooperation is concerned, the resolution introduces limits to cooperation with Iran on offensive weapons and defensive weapons do not fall under these limits," AFP had quoted Lavrov as saying.
Russian authorities have made conflicting statements about how the sanctions approved in the UN Security Council on Wednesday would affect the contract, which the United States and Israel have urged Moscow not to fulfill.
Iran signed a contract with Russia in December 2005 to buy at least five S-300 surface-to-air defense missile systems. However, Russia has repeatedly delayed the delivery of the sophisticated defense system.