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U.S. Welcomes Russian Ban On Arms To Iran

September 23, 2010

The United States says it "strongly" welcomes Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's decision to ban Russian supplies of air-defense missiles and other arms to Iran, in line with United Nations sanctions against the Islamic republic over its nuclear program.

The Russian move came as the six world powers looking to curb Iran's controversial nuclear program say they remain "determined and united" to seek a negotiated solution to the standoff.

A White House statement praised Medvedev for showing "leadership" by banning the transfer of Russian advanced weaponry to Iran, including the S-300 antiaircraft missile system.

The statement said the move showed how "Russia and the United States are cooperating closely" toward "mutual interests and global security."

Iran's defense minister, General Ahmad Vahidi, responded by criticizing Russia over the ban. "We think Russia should show it has an independent stance in choosing its relations with other countries as well as on international issues" Vahidi said, according to AP.

Russia signed a deal to supply the sophisticated S-300 systems to Iran in 2007 -- but no missiles were delivered amid U.S. and Israeli objections. Vahidi insisted that Moscow is obliged to deliver the systems, the agency reported.

Under Medvedev's decree issued on September 22, supplies of Russian tanks, fighter jets, helicopters, ships, and missile systems to Iran also are forbidden.

Russia will also not supply Iran with technologies related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The decree also bans the transit of arms bound for Iran through Russian territory.

However there's still some confusion as Russia is part of BRIC, with Brazil, India, and China, whose members said this week they want the United Nations to rebuke countries that apply unilateral sanctions not approved by the UN Security Council.

Russia in June backed a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran over Tehran's refusal to curb some activities of its nuclear program.

Iran denies allegations that its nuclear program is aimed at the development of a nuclear weapon.

compiled from agency reports

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/US_Welcomes_ Russian_Ban_On_Arms_To_Iran/2165645.html

Copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.



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