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Iranian legislator wants Russia to be sued over missile contract

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Iranian legislator calls on Tehran to sue Russia because of failure to deliver antiaircraft system
  • "Our country should take legal action ... in a bid to restore" Iran's rights, he says
  • Russian official says antiaircraft system supplies are subject to UN sanctions on Iran
  • Russia
  • Iran

Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- An Iranian legislator has called on the government to sue Russia after Moscow reneged on the delivery of an antiaircraft missile system to Iran, the semi-official FARS News Agency reported Monday.

"The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran should pursue the case with Russia's lack of commitment to the delivery of the system," Kazzem Jalali of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission told reporters Sunday in Tehran, FARS said.

He was referring to the sophisticated S-300 missile system.

"According to the S-300 contract, our country should take legal action in accordance with the contents of the deal in a bid to restore the inalienable rights of the Islamic Republic of Iran," he said.

Jalali said that such actions would not help the relationship between Tehran and Moscow. "Iranian officials have warned Russia on frequent occasions that the Iranian nation has become distrustful of the Russians, and that action should be taken to bring down this wall of mistrust among the public opinion," he said, according to FARS.

Jalali's remarks came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Tehran cannot sue Moscow over the contract, adding that antiaircraft missile system supplies are subject to UN Security Council sanctions on Iran, FARS said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev prohibited the sale of S-300 systems to Iran in September, citing the sanctions that were imposed June 9 over Tehran's nuclear program. The United States has said the nuclear program is military in nature; Tehran has insisted that it is intended solely for peaceful energy purposes.

Iran has said that the missile system was not covered by the sanctions.

Last week, Russia was preparing to reimburse Iran for canceling the contract, according to Iranian and Russian news agency reports.

"We are now preparing all the necessary documents," Iran's state-run Press TV reported, citing Russian Technologies chief Sergei Chemezov. "Talks are under way on how to compensate for Iran's outlay."

Russia announced late last month that it was blocking weapons sales to Iran because of the sanctions, which banned export to Iran of armored vehicles, military aircraft, helicopters and ships.

The Russian state-run RIA Novosti news agency said last week that Russia owes Tehran only the prepayment of $166.8 million for the S-300 systems, citing Chemezov.

The missile systems that had been destined for Iran have been built, and could possibly be supplied to a third country, Chemezov said, according to RIA Novosti.