Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz
Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Photo: AFP
US concerned by sale
Photo: AFP

Israel blasts Russian arms sales to Iran as proof of nuclear deal failure

'Iran using deal to arm itself, not to better the life of its citizens,' top minister says after Russia announces plan to sell advanced S-300 missile system to Iran; US expresses concern at deal.

Israel says Russia's decision to sell advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran is the "direct result" of the international community's framework nuclear deal with the Islamic republic. The US also expressed concern at the deal, the White House and Pentagon said Monday, while Iran claimed it could help regional stability.



"Instead of demanding Iran put an end to the terrorism its instigates in the Mideast and around the world, it is being allowed to attain advanced arms which will only spur its aggressions," Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Monday. 


S-300 missile system (Photo: AFP)
S-300 missile system (Photo: AFP)


Israel has harshly criticized the US-led nuclear deal, saying it would give Iran relief from sanctions while leaving its nuclear program largely intact. Israel believes Iran still intends to develop a nuclear weapon.


Steinitz said the framework agreement helped legitimize Iran and cleared the way for Monday's announcement by Russia. "While Iran disregards article after article of the agreement reached last week, the international community is already begun to ease restrictions on it," he said.


"This is a direct result of the legitimacy that Iran obtained from the emerging nuclear deal," he said. Steinitz added that the arms deal shows that Iran plans to use the relief from economic sanctions to buy weapons, not improve the living conditions of its people.


"This is proof that Iran will enjoy economic surge in wake of the removal of sanctions which it will use for arming itself and not for the benefit of the Iranian people."


Earlier Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted the ban on Russia's delivery of the sophisticated S300 air defense missile system to Iran, the Kremlin said, prompting anger from not just from Israel, but also from the US.

Russian President Putin with Iranian President Rouhani (Photo: AP)
Russian President Putin with Iranian President Rouhani (Photo: AP)


US Secretary of State John Kerry raised concerns with his Russian counterpart over Russia's decision, the White House said on Monday. "It was an opportunity for Secretary Kerry to raise our concerns," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a daily briefing.


The US military echoed the statement, with Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren saying "Our opposition to these sales is long and public. We believe it's unhelpful," he told reporters.


Iran for its part defended the move, with Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan saying the decision could lead to an expansion of cooperation and help stability in the region, Iranian state media said.


"This order shows the political will of the leaders of the two countries for developing and promoting the levels of cooperation in all fields," Dehghan said, according to Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. "The expansion of the two-way cooperation and the development of cooperation with other neighboring countries in various fields can be effective in establishing stability and security in the region."


Russia signed the $800 million contract to sell Iran the S-300 missile system in 2007, but later suspended their delivery because of strong objections from the United States and Israel.


Iran filed a lawsuit with a court in Geneva seeking $4 billion in damages for breach of contract, but the court has not issued a ruling.


Russia's Defense Ministry will be ready to swiftly deliver the S-300 if it gets the green light to do so, Interfax news agency quoted an official at the ministry as saying Monday.


Russia has insisted that its decision in 2010 to freeze the S-300 delivery was based on the sanctions the United Nations Security Council imposed on Iran over its nuclear program.


Iran reached a framework deal with world powers this month that is intended to significantly restrict its ability to produce nuclear weapons while giving it relief from international sanctions. The agreement is supposed to be finalized by June 30.


The Associated Press, Reuters and AFP contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 04.13.15, 19:46
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