Iran Is Getting Advanced Russian Anti-Aircraft Missile Systems After Years Of Legal Wrangling

Tehran and Moscow have finalized a deal to deliver the powerful S-300 long distance surface-to-air missile system. according to Russian assistant foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov. Only small procedural issues are left to be formalized.

Speaking on Wednesday, Bogdanov, who is also a special presidential representative for the Middle East and Africa, said “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.”

Russia will provide Iran with the S-300 system later in the year. A prominent source in Russia’s Foreign Ministry told RIA Novosti that the precise number of air defense systems has been put in writing in an already sealed contract.

“There will be as many as mentioned in the contract,” he added, replying to the question whether the country will really provide Iran with four S-300 allotments instead of three, as the Sputnik agency formerly reported, citing a prominent source in Iran’s Ministry of Defense.

In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin revoked the prohibition, introduced in 2010 by former President Dmitry Medvedev, banning the supply of S-300 missile defense equipments to Iran.

Commenting on the resolution, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said that Moscow’s deliberate restriction on S-300 deliveries was not necessary due to the developments in nuclear discussions happening in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The contract for delivering S-300 missile systems to Iran was proposed in 2007. Three years later the agreement was postponed due to the UN’s decision to impose sanctions on Iran.

Iran retaliated, filing an approximately $4 billion court case against Russia’s Rosoboronexport arms dealer with a Geneva adjudication panel. The parties are presently in talks on abandonment of the proceedings.

S-300 systems have been operational in several nations, including Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Algeria, Belarus, Vietnam and Kazakhstan. The last time Russia sent S-300 systems overseas was in 2010, when China received 15 squadrons. Since then manufacture of S-300 systems has been temporarily stopped, because the chief producer of the Russian missile air defenses, Almaz-Antey, has established the manufacture of the new model systems, S-400.

The delivery means that Iran will now has a sophisticated anti-aircraft missile system capable of downing some of the top fighter jets in the world including U.S. F-15, F-16, F-18 and B-52 bombers.

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