Thursday, October 13, 2016

Russia reportedly completes delivery of S-300 air defense missiles to Iran

Russia has completed the delivery of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran, RIA news agency quoted Russia's state arms export agency as saying on Thursday.

The system has been on order since 2007 but Russia postponed the sale three years later after the UN Security Council passed a resolution relating to Iran's nuclear program.

A deal between Iran and six world powers over its nuclear activities which lifted sanctions in January removed the barriers to delivery but the fully operational system is still awaited.

Iran insists the system is necessary to defend itself from threats of attack, including possible bombing of its nuclear facilities, and the S-300 would allow early detection of approaching aircraft.

Israel and the United States have hit out at the sale, which is seen as a means for Russia to maintain influence in the Middle East.

In April Russia said that it had not yet delivered the S-300 missile defense systems to Iran after Iran said that it had taken delivery of the first part of the missile defense system.

The retraction mirrored a similar back-and-forth that took place in February, when Russian media reports that Moscow was about to send the system to Iran were quickly denied by Russia's defense ministry, which stated that no delivery was imminent because Iran had not yet paid for the missiles.

In February, Russia denied media reports of an imminent delivery of missiles to Iran, saying that Tehran had not yet paid for the weapons.


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