The S-300 issue: can Iran be trusted?
Baku, Azerbaijan, April 17
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
The issue of trust is an eternal issue, but the issue of trust in Iran is also a difficult one.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has lifted a ban on the sale of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran. This will allow Tehran to finally get one of the most advanced systems in the world to shoot down the high-altitude aircraft and cruise missiles.
Russia and Iran signed an agreement for the supply of S-300 systems in 2007. However, the deal was postponed in 2010 after the UN Security Council adopted tough sanctions against Iran.
In this case, the refusal from selling S-300 was Moscow's gesture of goodwill as in fact, the sanctions have not covered these complexes because they are considered as defensive systems, rather than heavy weapons.
President Putin explained his recent decision by the fact that Iran has become so flexible and compliant in its nuclear program, that the sale of the promised defensive systems must not be of concern.
And everything would've been fine, except there's a catch. The S-300 system is one of the most successful military developments of the Russian defense industry, which has not only powerful missiles, but also highly effective radars.
S-300 can track up to 100 targets simultaneously and also destroy them at a distance of up to 130 kilometers. This means that the highly mobile system, which is assembled within minutes and transported by trucks, will create enormous problems for the entire world community if Iran decides to continue developing its nuclear program.
To do this, Tehran just has to place S-300 systems around its nuclear facilities. Defensive complexes will transform Iranian territories into practically no-fly zones.
The US and NATO aircraft, F-16 or F/A-18 Hornet will be shot down at the first attempt to attack and the US has too small number of B-2 Spirit and F-22 Raptor stealth bombers (only several tens of machines) that can safely operate in the areas defended by S-300.
The S-300 is sold against the backdrop of the next report of the International Atomic Energy Agency saying that during the talks held on Apr.15 in Tehran, Iran and P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China plus Germany) again failed to resolve two issues on the possible military aspects of Iran's nuclear program, the information about which was supposed to be provided by Iran in August 2014.
Given that for nearly two years Iran has unsuccessfully been trying to convince the West of its nuclear program being secure, it still manages not to comply with the requirements of the IAEA and avoid answering undesirable questions. So draw your own conclusions about the expediency of selling S-300 to Iran...
Edited by SI
Elmira Tariverdiyeva is Trend Agency's staff writer, follow her on Twitter @EmmaTariver