US praises Medvedev over Iran missile sales ban

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The United States on Wednesday "strongly" welcomed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's "leadership" after he signed a decree banning supplies of air-defense missiles and other arms to Iran.

In a boost to the US bid to isolate Iran over its nuclear weapons program, the Kremlin earlier said Medvedev signed a decree forbidding supplies of S-300 air defense missiles to the Islamic republic, among other weapons.

"The White House strongly welcomes the executive order signed by Russian President Medvedev which bans the transfer of advanced weaponry to Iran, including the S-300," said National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer.

"We believe President Medvedev has demonstrated leadership on holding Iran accountable to its international obligations from start to finish.

"We welcome this faithful and robust implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1929, and we remain committed alongside our Russian and other (international) partners to finding a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue."

"This continues to demonstrate how Russia and the United States are cooperating closely on behalf of our mutual interests, and global security."

Under the decree, supplies of any tanks, fighter jets, helicopters, ships and missile systems are also forbidden.

Russia will also not supply Iran with any technologies related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The decree also bans the transit of arms bound for Iran through Russian territory.

The Obama administration will likely point to Medvedev's move as further validation of its strategy to "reset" ties with Russia, which had deteriorated in the latter years of the Bush administration.

© 2010 AFP

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