MOSCOW, Aug. 19 (UPI) — Russia and Iran have reached an agreement over the delivery of the S-300 long range surface-to-air missile systems, and the supply is expected in Tehran later this year.
“As things stand now, this topic is closed. We have reached full understanding on the matter together with our Iranian partners. The question has been fundamentally solved. The rest is just technical details,” Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told RIA Novosti, as reported by Russia Today.
In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin repealed the ban that prohibited the delivery of the missile air defense systems to Iran — much to the consternation of Israel and the United States.
The initial contract for supplying the missiles to Iran was signed in 2007, but was put on hold due to United Nations’ sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
S-300 systems have been operated by a number of countries, including Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and Vietnam.
The S-300 is “one of the most advanced air defense systems in the world,” Brig.-Gen. (res.) Asaf Agmon, a former senior Israel Air Force officer told The Jerusalem Post.
The S-300, says the brigadier general, would make a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities even more difficult.
“This system will be a challenge for an air force to overcome. Its arrival is a significant change in our region,” Agmon said.
In April, President Barack Obama downplayed the significance of the purchase. “I’m frankly surprised that [the ban on S-300 deliveries to Iran] held this long, given that they were prohibited by sanctions from selling these defensive weapons.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, had warned Putin that providing Iran with S-300 missiles “will only encourage Iranian aggression in the region and further undermine the stability of the Middle East.”