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The Interview

Top Russian lawmaker: Missile sales to Iran 'will help support nuclear deal'

Russia has just lifted a ban on the sale of a sophisticated air-defence system to Tehran, a decision that has irritated the US and Israel. But Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, believes that lifting the ban could be the best way to support the nuclear deal with Iran and keep peace in the region.

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"There may be a temptation to kill this agreement by attacking Iran. If Iran’s defence capacities are boosted, maybe it will be a turn-off for those who would like to kill the agreement", he told FRANCE 24's Marc Perelman. "I think this is reinforcing the possibilities and the chances for peace and for the implementation of the agreement with Iran”.

Despite a truce agreement, deadly attacks are still taking place in eastern Ukraine. Pushkov blames Kiev for the lack of full implementation of the Minsk agreements. "The biggest problem here is the perceived lack of desire of Kiev to follow the political part of the Minsk agreement", he says. Pushkov insists that Kiev has not started a "political dialogue" with the self-declared people's republics of Luhansk and Donetsk.

The top Russian lawmaker also points that the head of French military intelligence, General Christophe Gomart, has publicly cast doubt on NATO’s allegations that Russia is preparing an invasion of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian crisis has been watched closely by neighbouring countries. Pushkov is concerned about NATO’s increased presence in the Baltic states. “We have American tanks in Latvia, in Lithuania, in Estonia, we have American personnel… the Americans are coming closer and closer to us", he says.

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