February 18, 2016 / 10:28 PM / 4 years ago

Russian arms sale to Iran without approval would violate ban: U.S

A spectator watches Sukhoi Su-30SM jet fighters of the Sokoly Rossii (Falcons of Russia) aerobatic team perform during the MAKS International Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, Russia, August 29, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A reported sale of Russian combat aircraft to Iran would violate a U.N. arms embargo if it occurred without advance U.N. Security Council approval, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday.

Russia’s RIA news agency on Wednesday reported that Russia will this year sign a contract to sell a batch of its Sukhoi Su-30SM multi-role fighters to Iran.

As the United States and five other major powers negotiated the July 14 nuclear deal with Iran, the six agreed to maintain a ban on conventional arms sales to Iran for five years unless they were blessed in advance by the Security Council.

“U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 prohibits the sale to Iran of specified categories of conventional arms ... without approval in advance on a case-by-case basis by the UN Security Council,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

Toner said all U.N. members, and especially those such as Russia that negotiated the resolution as part of the nuclear deal, “should be fully aware of these restrictions.” He said the ban covered “combat aircraft,” including the Su-30SM fighter.

“If the media reports are accurate, we will address it bilaterally with Russia and with the other members of the U.N. Security Council,” Toner added.

Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Chris Reese

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