By Suman Varandani, International Business Times—
Russia will begin the first shipment of the S-300 air defense missile system to Iran in the coming days, Interfax news agency quoted a senior Russian diplomat as saying Tuesday.
“I don’t know if this will happen today, but they (S-300 missiles) will be loaded (for shipment to Iran),” the agency quoted Zamir Kabulov, a department chief at the Foreign Ministry, as saying.
Iran and Russia in 2007 signed an $800 million deal to deliver five S-300 missile systems to Iran. However, the contract was suspended in 2010 due to a United Nations Security Council resolution, which placed an embargo on arms deliveries until it was proved that Tehran had peaceful motives for its nuclear project.
The Israeli deputy air force chief said Sunday that its neighbors were buying arms on a scale that threatened its regional military superiority, according to Reuters.
“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,” Brig. Gen. Tal Kelman reportedly told a conference to promote Israel’s purchase of the advanced U.S. fighter jet, F-35.
In February, Russian news agency TASS reported, citing a source, that Iran was looking to procure Russian-made S-400 Triumph surface-to-air missile system, Sukhoi Su-30SM (Flanker-C) multirole fighters and other military hardware, along with the Bastion (SSC-5 Stooge) coastal defense missile system, Yakovlev Yak-130 (Mitten) combat trainer, Mi-8/17 (Hip) helicopters, frigates and diesel-electric submarines.
In March, Sergei Chemezov, the head of Russia’s industrial conglomerate Rostec, told RIA news agency that the first delivery of Russia’s S-300 missile defense system to Iran will take place in August or September this year.