Russia Supplies S-300 Air Defense System to Iran Ahead of Schedule

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

Russia is supplying its S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran ahead of schedule and is now in talks with the Islamic Republic on deliveries of other military equipment, the head of Russia's federal arms exports service, FSVTS, said on Tuesday.

"The talk is about only permitted items which are not on the UN list of banned (weapons)," Alexander Fomin told reporters. He did not elaborate.

On April 17 Iran showed off parts of what it said was a new Russian S-300 missile defense system during celebrations for its National Army Day. President Hassan Rohani said at that ceremony that the country's armed forces were no threat to neighboring countries.

Russia said earlier this month it would start delivering the missile system and an Iranian official acknowledged that the first shipment had been delivered.

The semi-official Iranian news agency Fars released photos on the day of the parade nine days ago, showing the S-300 system parts. The Fars report said that the missiles themself were not present at the parade.

A senior Israeli military official sounded a note of alarm on April 5 when Russia's news agency said shipments of S-300s to Iran would soon begin. Deputy air force chief Brig. Gen. Tal Kelman said that Israel’s neighbors are buying arms on a scale that threatens its regional military superiority.

"There are countries here which have plans that are being actualized for arms deals in the hundreds of billions of dollars, for the most advanced Western weaponry and the most advanced Eastern weaponry," Kelman told a conference promoting Israel’s purchase of the advanced U.S. fighter jet the F-35.

Israel fears Iran will use sanctions relief due to last year’s nuclear agreement to build up its ballistic missile program and arm Islamist guerrillas like Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia.

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