(AA) – The U.S. is troubled by the delivery of Russian-made defense missile systems to Iran, an Obama administration official said Monday.
“It’s not constructive at this time for Russia to move forward with it,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
The U.S.’s reaction came after Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to lift a ban on the transfer of the systems to Iran.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that Iran was in need of a modern air defense system in the light of recent developments in Yemen, where military activity has “rapidly developed in recent weeks.”
Sale of the missile system was cancelled five years ago when the UN imposed sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear program.
But Russia gave new life to the sale of arms to Iran as Tehran and world powers agreed earlier this month on a framework deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
Harf said Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken to Lavrov regarding the sale and the Russian move would not affect the ongoing nuclear talks.
“This is a little bit of a separate issue than the nuclear issue. We don’t expect it to impact the unity on the talks.”
Reiterating its strong opposition to nuclear negotiation with Iran, Israel also condemned the Russian move.
“This is a direct result of the legitimacy that Iran obtained from the emerging nuclear deal,” said Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, local news reported.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest responded to Israeli concerns. The U.S. “certainly takes very seriously the safety and security of our allies in the region,” he said.