(JTA) – The Obama administration expressed “concern” over the deployment of powerful anti-aircraft missiles near an Iranian enrichment facility ostensibly shuttered under the Iran nuclear deal, but said it did not violate embargoes. Iran over the weekend announced the deployment of the Russian-made S-300 missiles around the Fordow facility. “We’re concerned about the provision of sale to Iran of sophisticated defense capabilities such as this S-300,” John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, said on August 29. Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, also expressed concerns but said the sale did not violate arms embargoes on Iran.
Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., an architect of the sanctions regime, said in a statement he believed Russia may be subject to sanctions because of the sale. “The Administration is failing to enforce U.S. laws that mandate sanctions against countries that export destabilizing advanced conventional weapons to Iran,” he said. Since the Iran nuclear deal was reached last year, Russia lifted a ban on the sale of the S-300s to Iran in place since 2010, when Israel and the United States prevailed on Russia not to make the sale.
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