Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday expressed his "concerns" that Russia has agreed to ship Iran a missile system capable of hitting targets 125 miles away, according to Acting State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf.
But Harf gave no indication that Kerry said anything more than that.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov before a meeting on Ukraine last month. On Monday, the two spoke by phone, and Kerry said the U.S. had 'concerns' about the sale of missiles to Iran. Image: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
It was reported Monday morning that Russia finally agreed to ship an S-300 missile system to Iran after having delayed that shipment for several years. The Associated Press reported that Russia signed a contract for the sale back in 2007, but delayed shipment because of U.S. protests.
Russia has said this month's tentative Iran nuclear agreement helped convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to lift the self-imposed ban, and has argued that the S-300 system is defensive in nature. Still, the U.S. had opposed the transaction, something it had told Russia several times before.
"We've certainly made our concerns with the sale of the S-300 system to Iran known for some time, this certainly isn't new," Harf told reporters.
"The secretary raised those concerns in a call with Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov this morning," she said. "We don't believe it's constructive at this time for Russia to move forward with this."
When asked if the sale would have any effect on the ongoing Iran nuclear talks, Harf predicted it would not. "We don't think this will, you know, have an impact on unity in terms of inside the negotiating room," she said.
Harf gave no other indication that the Obama administration would make any further effort to stop or condition the sale of missiles to Iran.
State often reacts to these events by noting its "concern" over them. Just last week, for example, State reacted to the beating of a U.S. citizen in Panama by saying it's "deeply concerned."