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Political and legal dimensions of not delivering S-300 missiles to Iran

The story of selling Russia’s S-300 missiles to Iran began when Iran and Russia signed an agreement in 2005 by which Russia committed to deliver five S-300 systems to Iran in 2007 in expense for $800 million.

S-300, in fact, is one of the fastest and most effective ground-to-air missiles made by Russia and it is difficult for anti-aircraft systems to divert or neutralize it. This system could guide up to two missiles per target to up to six targets simultaneously. Ground-to-air S-300 missile was built in 1979 to protect sensitive and important buildings in the Soviet Union.

An obstacle to the contract emerged when UNSC passed 1929 resolution on June 9, 2010. This resolution is related to Iranian nuclear program that imposed severe sanctions against Iran.

On September 22, Russian General Staff Army Gen. Nikolai Makarov said Russia would not deliver S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran as planned because such transfers are prohibited under UN sanctions.

Iranian officials, however, believe that this system is defensive in nature and even is not included in the group of defensive arms according to illegal Security Council’s resolution.

On 22th June 2010, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that new UNSC resolution have not any effect on a S-300 system deal with Iran, because it is a defensive system that does not violate the resolution. Of course, Iranian officials repeatedly have said that basically, resolution itself is illegal.

Reasons for the refusal of Russia and the indigenous production of 300

But Finally, Russians reneged and did not deliver S-300 to Iran under the pretext of UN resolution. Maybe for this reason, Iran’s Defense Ministry decided to stand on its foot. After Russians sabotage on delivering S-300 to Iran, Tehran government announced that it will produce the system domestically and also will try to get compensation from Russians.

Representatives of the Russian military industries are in advocate of S-300 system sales to Iran. They are seeking to earn large profits of this deal and so, defend it. Putin, however, still opposes the deal because the large influence of Israel’s supporters in Russia. The trade volume between Israel and Russia is twice the trade volume between Iran and Russia.

The main cause of non-delivery of 300 missiles to Iran has been Zionist pressure groups on Russia, because a large population of Jews lives in Russia and they also show sensitivity toward any relationship between Russia and Iran.



From a legal perspective, it should be noted that the content of Security Council resolutions in question suggests that the decision to impose sanctions on Iran has been based on Article 41 of UN Charter Chapter 7 whereby Security Council is intended to establish international peace and security through non-military measures such as restrictions, prohibitions and sanctions on economic relations and political communications. Another point is that Russia probably, citing to such resolution, avoid fulfilling its international and Contractual obligations toward Iran. It claims that sanctions are known as clear instances of Force Majeure in accordance with the contractual arrangements and accordingly, it can avoid delivering missiles to Iran.


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