Iran: Russian arms sale won't affect nuke talks
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Iran’s foreign minister on Wednesday claimed Russia’s sale of a surface-to-air missile system to his country wouldn't affect diplomatic negotiations on Tehran's nuclear program.

“I think it is the right decision that Russia has made,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in Lisbon, Portugal, of the tentative sale, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“It is a contract with the good relations we have with Russia, which is fully legal and will have no impact on the [nuclear] negotiations,” he added.


The Obama administration made similar claims during an announcement Tuesday, trying to downplay any controversy. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Russia’s economic dealings with Iran were troubling but unrelated to nuclear talks involving all three countries.

“While it’s a substantial concern, it’s not a concern that’s directly tied to the ongoing nuclear negotiations,” Earnest said.

Russia lifted its ban on S-300 sales to Iran on Monday. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision lets Russian arms dealers export the weapons system to Tehran for the first time since 2010.

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryGraham requests State Department documents on Bidens, Ukraine So long as Iran dominates the Middle East, a new Baghdadi will rise As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target MORE objected to Moscow’s move during a Monday phone call with his Russian counterpart. Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Iran could use the S-300 for defending its nuclear weapons facilities during the talks, which are set to resume on April 21.

Kerry helped draft the tentative framework on Iran’s nuclear power during talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, last month. Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia aided U.S. efforts at the bargaining table.

President Obama called the outlined deal “historic” following its public release on April 2. It would eliminate economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for tougher restrictions on its nuclear energy program.

Iran has tentatively approved more nuclear inspections and caps on its centrifuge and uranium stockpiles as part of the bargain. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed his nation would honor the deal on April 3.

The U.S. and its allies will next seek a permanent deal with Iran by June 30. Congress is expected to pass legislation empowering lawmakers to review any deal, after the White House dropped its veto threat on Tuesday.