Delivering Russian S-300 to Iran possible in short term

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 21

By Dalga Khatinoglu - Trend:

An Iranian military expert says that Russia might deliver S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran in short term.

Iran and Russia's defense ministers signed a defense deal on Jan.20.

Iran's Fars News Agency reported that, the two sides have also resolved problems concerning the delivery of Russia's S-300 missile defense systems to Iran. However, Moscow is yet to make an official comment regarding the defense system.

The $800 million contract to deliver S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran was canceled in 2010 by then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, to fall in line with UN sanctions imposed on Iran due to its disputed nuclear program. In turn, Tehran has filed a currently pending $4 billion lawsuit against Russia in Geneva's arbitration court.

Russia signed the contract in 2007 to sell Iran five S-300 ground-to-air missile systems. Iranian military expert Hossein Aryan told Trend Jan.21 that it seems Russia canceled delivery of S-300 to Iran due to pressures of the U.S. and Israel in 2010, however, the relations between Russia and West has escalated since 2014 and the possibility of delivering S-300 to Iran is high.

However, Vladislav Menshikov, CEO of S-300 air defense systems manufacturer Almaz-Antei said in August 2013 that Russia has dismantled and disposed the S-300 air defense missile systems originally intended for delivery to Iran.

"The hardware intended for Iran does not exist any more. We have dismantled it completely," Menshchikov told reporters. He added that some elements, which could be reused, have been used, while some other parts have been destroyed.

Aryan says, in case we believe Menshchikov's statements, it is not difficult for Russia to build new S-300 air defense systems and deliver to Iran in short term, but it seems his statement about dismantled and disposed S-300 systems are political-motivated and out of reality.

Aryan said that, even during Boris Yeltsin's presidency, he signed an army agreement with Iran to deliver heaven weapons, but cancelled when faced with the United States' pressure during Bill Clinton's term in office.

Iran has had "deep distrust" in relations with Russia since years ago due to several cancellations of military agreements by Moscow.

Edited by CN

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