Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan said Russia has agreed to deliver the S-300 surface-to-air missile system by the end of year, despite concerns expressed by the Pentagon over the sale of the advanced air defense system, reports Tehran Times.
“Commenting on the S-300 missiles, he said Russia has agreed to deliver the missiles before the end of 2015,” states the report.
“On Iran’s missile development programs, he said the country does not accept any limits on producing long-range missiles despite what world powers try to imply,” it adds.
The defense minister also said that Iran sees no limit to its military cooperation with Russia.
“The cooperation will focus on production and joint marketing,” said Hossein Dehqan, notes Tehran Times, citing an August 31 report from the Eqtesadi news website.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook expressed concerns about Russia selling the advanced air defense system to the Iranians.
The U.S. “obviously has problems” with the sale, he told reporters on August 25, adding that the Pentagon has “long expressed our concerns” to the Russians.
“We don’t see this as a positive development,” he added.
Cook stressed that President Obama will have “military options… if that system is put into place.”
He declared that the Pentagon has been “tracking” the possible sale, adding, “We’re confident in our capabilities, even if that system is sold.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin repealed the ban in April that prohibited the delivery of the S-300 systems to Iran, despite U.S. and Israeli objections.
His decision came shortly after the Lausanne outline for the nuclear deal between the P5+1 world powers (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, plus Germany) and Iran was signed in April.
The nuclear agreement struck between Iran and the six world powers on July 14 adds relief from an international arms embargo imposed on Iran.
Under the deal, the embargo was expected to be lifted within 5 years.
“Moscow believes the framework agreement permits the delivery of the missiles without waiting for removal of sanctions intended to deter Tehran from developing its nuclear program,” reports the Times of Israel.
Contrary to claims by President Obama, the agreement does not contain effective ballistic missile restrictions.
“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,” notes the Times of Israel. “Other officials have expressed concern that the systems could reach Syria and Hezbollah, diluting Israel’s regional air supremacy.”
“The S-300 is capable of tracking multiple planes at once and some versions have an interception range of 200 kilometers [124 miles], and is considered to be one of the most sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons in the world,” it adds.
Russia repealed its arms embargo on Iran when both countries began to expand their military relationship in the wake of the historic nuclear agreement reached July 14.
Iran has embarked upon a shopping spree in Russia, heavily focused on its military, Michael Rubin, an Iran expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI), recently wrote.