The US State Department has confirmed that despite sanctions against Iran which include not being able to acquire weapon systems ("A ban on all countries providing military vehicles, aircraft or warships and missiles or missile systems and related materiel to Iran;") the State Department believes that these sanctions inexplicably completely leave open the option for the Russians to sell to Iran the S-300 (long range surface to air missile system) - as the State department and the US administration is choosing to understand it.
A missile system that could possibly prevent Israel from attacking and destroying Iran's nuclear weapons facilities.
QUESTION: Just one more back on sanctions, one more point on the S-300. Is there any side-letter agreement or understanding with the Russians, between the U.S. and Russia, on the S-300?Gee, was that screw-up on purpose, or by accident? Or are they just choosing to understand it that way?
MR. CROWLEY: We have had conversations with Russia about this broad set of issues. And I would note that people have kind of overlooked the fact that there is a significant expansion of the restrictions on the sale of arms to Iran. And that has a direct bearing on Russia, which has had a fairly significant level of commerce with Iran over a number of years.
So this was very meaningful for Russia to agree to the restrictions that are in this resolution. But – been some statements out of Russia today regarding the S-300, and as we said, we note the fact that it’s not captured specifically by this resolution, but we have recognized and appreciate the restraint that Russia has shown up to this point.
QUESTION: But to the question, is there any separate understanding between the U.S. and Russia about the sale of S-300s, is there any agreement or any letter --
MR. CROWLEY: I mean, I don’t know that there’s any agreement. We have talked to Russia about this issue, and Russia obviously will make up – make its own determination as to how to proceed or not.
QUESTION: But you’re satisfied that this particular sale is not – is excluded from the sanctions?
MR. CROWLEY: That is clear, since this resolution was based on the existing arms registry at the UN, and the S-300 is not on that list.
Sometimes the world is really just topsy-turvy.
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