Russia Won't Deliver S-300 Missiles to Iran Any Time Soon

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov says 'a political and legal decision' needs to be reached before the missiles can be shipped.

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S-300 anti-aircraft missile system.
S-300 anti-aircraft missile system.Credit: AFP

The supply of the Russian S-300 missile defense system to Iran "is not a matter of the nearest future," a senior Russian Foreign Ministry official said on Thursday.

"It is more important that a political and legal decision, which opens up such a possibility, is taken," said deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov, according to TASS official news agency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to lift the freeze on the sale of S-300 systems to Iran on April 13, following the progress made in negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

Moscow was due to deliver five medium-range S-300 missile systems worth over $800 million under a 2007 contract. The missiles were seen as game-changers that would make it much more difficult for Israel or another state to attack Iran's nuclear facilities with planes and/or missiles.

The contract was canceled in 2010 and the advance payment returned to Tehran in line with a United Nations Security Council resolution on sanctions against Iran.

Meanwhile, United States President Barak Obama said on Wednesday that his country was capable of dealing with the missiles, if it had to.

“Even if they have some air defense systems, if we had to, we could penetrate them,” Obama said.

The United States objects to the upcoming deployment of Russian-made S-300 air defense systems in Iran and has expressed its concern, Obama said in an interview. “But as I said before, we have to keep it in perspective.”

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