UN sanctions won't bar Russian missile sale to Iran

10:39, May 22, 2010      

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by Lucy-Claire Saunders

Despite a pattern of contrary statements, the United Nations draft resolution on Iranian sanctions will not prevent Russia from moving forward with the controversial sale of S-300 missiles to Tehran, an intelligence expert told Xinhua on Friday.

"Surface-to-air missiles, like the S-300, can really only be used for defensive purposes and I think that's the logic behind not including them in this arms embargo," said Greg Thielmann, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Arms Control Association.

While the draft resolution -- introduced by the United States among the 15-nation Council on Tuesday -- calls on states to block the sales or transfers of weapons, including battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, and missiles or missile systems, it falls short of covering the ban to defensive-only types of weaponry.

"The new sanctions would bring in weapons systems that had not been featured in earlier sanctions but all of those systems are capable of being part of aggressive action against other countries, " Thielmann said.

The S-300, on the other hand, is designed with a defensive application to shoot down attacking aircraft or cruise missiles.

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