Vladimir Putin lifted a ban on deliveries of Russian S-300 air-defence missiles to Iran on Monday, in a controversial move which angered Israel.

The Russian president issued an executive order cancelling a prohibition on exporting the weapon to Tehran, a measure brought in under Western pressure in 2010 when the UN introduced an arms embargo.

Israel responded sharply to the lifting of the ban. Yuval Steinitz, the intelligence and international relations minister, said it was “a direct result of the legitimacy that Iran is receiving from the nuclear deal that is being prepared, and proof that the Iranian economic growth which follows the lifting of sanctions will be exploited for arming itself and not for the welfare of the Iranian people”.

Mr Steinitz added: “Instead of demanding that Iran desist from the terrorist activity that it is carrying out in the Middle East and throughout the world, it is being allowed to arm itself with advanced weapons that will only increase its aggression.”

The US White House said John Kerry, the secretary of state, had also raised his concerns with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, over the cancellation of the ban on Monday.

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