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U.S. welcomes Russia's ban on S-300 missile sales to Iran

RIA Novosti

01:02 23/09/2010

MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. welcomes the Russian president's decree to prohibit the delivery of S-300 air defense missile systems and other weapons to Iran, a White House official said.

National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer welcomed the move as a "faithful and robust implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1929" of June 9, 2010, which imposes an additional set of sanctions on the Islamic Republic over its controversial nuclear program.

The presidential decree, which includes a ban on sales of battle tanks, armored vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, warplanes, military helicopters, ships and missiles, is part of measures Russia is taking to comply with the resolution.

The U.S. official added that the Russian president has demonstrated leadership "on holding Iran accountable to its international obligations from start to finish."

"This continues to demonstrate how Russia and the United States are cooperating closely on behalf of our mutual interests, and global security," he said.

Russia signed an $800 million contract on delivery to Iran of S-300 systems to equip at least five battalions in late 2007. The contract's implementation had so far been delayed. Experts are considering whether the missiles fall under the sanctions imposed on Iran by the UN Security Council in June.

Israel and the United States had voiced concerns over Russia's plans to supply high-precision S-300 systems, capable of destroying aircraft at ranges of 150 km (90 miles) and at altitudes of up to 27 km (17 miles), to Iran. No such systems have been delivered to the Islamic Republic yet.

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