Russia will not deliver S-300 air defense missiles to Iran as planned because such transfers are prohibited under UN sanctions, the chief of the Russian general staff said Wednesday.
"The decision has been made not to deliver S-300s to Iran," General Nikolai Makarov told journalists at an aircraft equipment production plant in the Moscow Region's town of Ramenskoye.
"They are of course covered by the sanctions," he said, adding: "The leadership decided to suspend the delivery process. We are carrying this decision out."
Answering the question whether a relevant contract with Iran will be cancelled, Makarov said "we will see - it will depend on Iran's behavior."
Western powers suspect that Iran's nuclear enrichment program is aimed at producing weapons, but Tehran claims it needs high-enriched uranium to fuel a reactor producing medical isotopes.
In late August, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said a decision on the delivery of S-300 missiles to Iran had not yet been taken.
Russia signed a contract on delivery to Iran of S-300 systems to equip at least five battalions in December 2005. The contract's implementation had so far been delayed as experts considered whether the missiles fall under the sanctions imposed on Iran by the UN Security Council in June.
The sanctions include a ban on supplies on conventional arms to the Islamic Republic. According to the document, "states are prohibited from selling or in any way transferring to Iran eight broad categories of heavy weapons (battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems).
However, the S-300 air defense systems are not included in the UN Register of Conventional Arms.