Russia has rejected a request by the Iranian regime to buy S-400 missile defense systems, concerned that the sale would stoke more tension in the Middle East, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, including a senior Russian official.
The request was rebuffed by President Vladimir Putin, the people told Bloomberg on May 30 on condition of anonymity because they’re not authorized to discuss the matter. The Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Moscow May 7.
Russia and Iran’s regime have enjoyed close political and military ties in recent years, though there have been signs that Moscow is seeking to gradually reduce Tehran’s footprint in the Middle East as it seeks to protect its relations with other regional powers such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, Bloomberg wrote.
“Any real or imaginary strengthening of Iran can lead to escalation — if Russia really refused Iran such a request, it would mean that Russia wants to keep working on relations with Saudi Arabia, Israel and keep a chance for negotiations with Trump,” said Ruslan Pukhov, head of the Center of Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow. “If Russia decides to provide Iran with S-400s, it will be direct challenge to Saudi Arabia and Israel, so it will be against Russia’s own national interests.”