Iran showed off parts of what it said was a new Russian S-300 missile defense system during its National Army Day celebrations Sunday, where President Hassan Rohani said the country's armed forces were no threat to neighboring countries.
- Conflicting reports on Iran receiving first shipment of S-300 defense system from Russia
- Iran’s missile program becomes new focus of dissent — from within
Russia said two weeks ago that it will start delivering the missile system and last week an Iranian official acknowledged that the first shipment had been delivered.
Army trucks carrying what Iran said were parts of the S-300 system were paraded in southern Tehran in Rohani's presence to mark the country's annual National Army Day.
The semi-official Iranian news agency Fars released photos of the S-300 system parts. The Fars report said that the missiles themself were not present at the parade.
Speaking at the parade, Rohani praised Iran's role in helping the Syrian and Iraqi governments roll back ISIS, saying "if tomorrow your capitals face danger from terrorism or Zionism, the power that will give you a positive answer is the Islamic Republic of Iran."
In the speech, broadcast live by state TV, he emphasized that Iran's military power was for defensive and deterrent purposes, and should not be seen as a threat to its neighbors. He appeared to be referring to Gulf Arab states, which have long viewed Iran as seeking to dominate the region.
The S-300 is one of the most advanced systems of its kind. It can engage multiple aircraft and ballistic missiles around 150 kilometers (90 miles) away.
Russia has said it cancelled a contract to deliver S-300s to Iran in 2010 under pressure from the West. President Vladimir Putin lifted the ban in April 2015, after an interim agreement that paved the way for July's full nuclear deal with Iran that ended international sanctions.
With reporting by Reuters.