Putin denies report Russia will sell Iran advanced anti-aircraft missile batteries


(JTA) —  Russian President Vladimir Putin denied a newspaper report that he has agreed to supply Iran with advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile batteries and a new nuclear reactor.

Russia’s Kommersant daily reported Wednesday that “a source close to the Kremlin” said the agreement would be discussed Friday, when Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Tehran and meets with new Iranian President Hassan Rohani.

The additional nuclear reactor would be built at the Bushehr nuclear site, according to the newspaper.

A decision to supply Iran with the S-300s would renew an $800 million agreement for five of the anti-aircraft missile batteries cancelled by Russia in 2010, reportedly after pressure from Israel. The deal was originally signed in 2007; its cancellation led to tension between Russia and Iran, the Associated Press reported.

The offer comes as Russia attempts to broker a resolution between Syria and the Western world over Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal and its alleged use of those weapons last month against the country’s citizens.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was pressured by Israel earlier this year to cancel a plan to provide four S-300s to Syria under a $900 million agreement signed in 2010 that also included six launchers and 144 operational missiles, each with a range of 200 miles.

Western nations also pressured Russia to cancel the Syria deal, saying it would complicate international intervention in the country’s two-year civil war.

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