Iran Hopeful about Resolution of S-300 Dispute with Russia
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian foreign minister said Tehran hopes to find an acceptable solution to the lingering dispute over Russia’s failure to honor its commitments under a sale contract, according to which Moscow was obligated to deliver S-300 missile batteries to the Islamic Republic.
“Tehran still insists on implementation of the previous agreements… Given the good relations between Iran and Russia and considering the long-standing ties between the two sides, we hope to be able to resolve the issue in an acceptable way,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday.
He made the comment in a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, here in Tehran.
The Russian minister arrived in Tehran on Tuesday to hold talks with a number of high-ranking Iranian officials.
The upbeat comments by Zarif on resolution of the dispute over delivery of S-300 missile defense system come while the issue has remained unsolved for a few years.
Under a contract signed in 2007, Russia was required to provide Iran with at least five S-300 defense system batteries. In 2010, then-president Dmitry Medvedev cancelled the contract as he came under strong US and Israeli pressure not to go ahead with the sale of the weapons system, but his pretext was that the sale was covered by the fourth round of the UN Security Council sanctions against Iran.
Later, Iran lodged a $4 billion lawsuit at an international court in Geneva against Russia's arms export agency which is now pending review.
Meanwhile, some sources say Russia has agreed to provide Iran with a modified export version of the S-300 systems called S-300VM Antey-2500 if the country withdrew its lawsuit.
Elsewhere in his remarks in the press conference, Zarif told reporters that his Wednesday meeting with Lavrov has revolved mainly around “long-term relations” between Tehran and Moscow in all fields.
The negotiations included talks on “cooperation in the Caspian Sea, bilateral long-term economic collaborations and also consultation on major regional subjects, and nuclear cooperation,” the Iranian minister added.