WASHINGTON (JTA) — Russia reportedly froze its pending sale to Iran of anti-missile defense systems.
Kommersant, a Russian newspaper, reported Feb. 18 that Anatoly Sedyukov, the Russian defense minister, informed his Iranian counterpart, Mostafa Mohammed Najjar, that the sale of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems would not go through at least until Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama meet April 2 at a summit in London.
Israel has been pressing Russia not to make the sale, saying such a system could remove any inhibitions Iran might have about the possibilities of an Israeli strike aimed at disabling the Islamic Republic’s suspected nuclear weapons program.
Russia reportedly has signed but not ratified an $800 million deal for five of the systems.
Russia is known to be seeking guarantees from the new Obama administration that it will roll back the Bush administration’s efforts to raise NATO’s profile in Eastern Europe.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the S-300 missiles have a range of about 200 kilometers, about 125 miles, and can hit targets at altitudes of 27,000 meters, about 89,000 feet.