Defense minister says Iranian troops training in Russia to operate the anti-aircraft weapons, which will arrive by the end of 2015
(SOURCE) Iran will receive the bulk of the S-300 air defense missile systems it ordered from Russia by the end of the year, Tehran’s defense minister said Tuesday.
“We signed a contract with Russia. It is being done. We will acquire a large portion of the systems by the end of this year,” Hossein Dehghan told state television late Tuesday.
He said Iranian troops were being trained in Russia to operate the surface-to-air missile systems.
This week, the state-run Russian Technologies corporation Rostec announced the signing of a delivery contract in Tehran for S-300 missiles.
Russia will provide Iran with a “modernized and updated” version of the missile systems, following up on an initial contract signed in 2007, Rostec Director General Sergey Chemezov said in a statement.
One of the most sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons in the world, the S-300 is capable of tracking multiple planes at once, and some versions have an interception range of up to 200 kilometers.
Israel has long sought to block the sale to Iran of the S-300 system, which analysts say could impede a potential Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities. Other officials have expressed concern that the systems could reach Syria and Hezbollah, diluting Israel’s regional air supremacy.
Russia initially agreed to sell the system to Iran in 2007 but then balked, saying at the time it was complying with a United Nations arms embargo on the Islamic Republic.
In April, shortly after the announcement of the Lausanne outline for the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, Russia announced it was lifting the ban on selling the advanced missile defense system to Iran, over American and Israeli objections.
In August, Iran and Russia announced that the system would be delivered by the end of the year, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov saying at the time that “just technical details” remained to be agreed upon.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.