Russia is freezing a contract to deliver S-300 air defence missiles to Iran after the adoption of the new UN sanctions against Tehran, a source told the Interfax news agency on Thursday.
"It is compulsory to fulfill a decision by the UN Security Council and Russia is not an exception here," said the source in the Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, which supervises Russian arms sales, AFP reports.
Iran is now cultivating a close alliance with an increasingly confident Islamist-rooted government in Turkey, which some see aimed at replacing its alliance with Russia. 'Never in modern history has there been such an aggravation in relations between Russia and Iran,' said Rajab Safarov, director of the Centre for Contemporary Iranian Studies in Moscow.
Iran has been particularly offended by Russia's refusal to give wholehearted backing to a nuclear fuel exchange deal between Iran, Brazil and Turkey aimed at defusing the nuclear standoff. 'Iran expected Russia to be the first to welcome this deal. Now Iran is moving in directions that do not suit Russia,' said Mr Safarov. 'Russia's influence on Iran is already waning, the cards that Russia had are no longer there and have gone over to Turkey, Straits Times informs.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election