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Germany’s Steinmeier says too early to reward Iran

(Reuters) – German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke out on Tuesday against Russia’s decision to prepare to deliver missile systems to Iran ahead of a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in the northern German city of Luebeck.

“We’re in the middle of a process,” Steinmeier told reporters. “It is also too early to talk about rewards at this stage.”

The Kremlin confirmed on Tuesday that an oil-for-goods barter deal between Russia andIran was being implemented and officials said the road was clear for Moscow to supply an advanced S-300 anti-missile system to Tehran.

The latest statements from Moscow coincide with politically sensitive negotiations on a final accord between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China andGermany on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program.

Russia has moved quickly to cement ties with Iran after an interim deal was reached this month on curbing the Islamic republic’s nuclear program in exchange for removing economic sanctions. Talks will resume on April 21 with the aim of reaching a final accord by the end of June.

President Vladimir Putin lifted a self-imposed ban on delivering the air defense system toIran on Monday, a move to secure a foothold for Russian companies in a much-needed new market after the West imposed sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

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