Russia and Iran sign contract for missile system delivery

Russia and Iran sign contract for missile system delivery
Russia and Iran have signed a contract for Moscow to supply Tehran with S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, it was reported on Monday.
2 min read
09 November, 2015
The S-300 will significantly enhance Iran's existing air defences [Getty]

Russia has finally agreed to deliver S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran, a senior Russian defence official said on Monday.

"S-300, the air defence system, the contract has already been signed," Sergei Chemezov, chief executive of Russian state-owned defence corporation Rostec, told Russia's RIA news agency at the Dubai airshow, Reuters reported.

The deal was first signed in 2007, but Moscow cancelled it in 2010 because of UN sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme, which banned sales of hi-tech weapons to Tehran, Iran's Press TV said.

However, Russian president Vladimir Putin lifted the ban on the delivery of the missiles to Iran in April of this year, after Washington announced a framework agreement for resolving the nuclear impasse with Iran, according to the Washington Institute's Michael Eisenstadt and Brenda Shaffer.

Chemezov said states of the region had no reason to feel threatened by the missiles, Reuters reported.

"If the Gulf countries are not going to attack Iran... why should they be threatened?" Chemezov asked.

"Because this is defence equipment."

He said Saudi Arabia, a regional rival of Iran, had approached his company "several times" requesting it not deliver the equipment.

The S-300 missile system would represent a qualitative upgrade in the capacity of the country's air defences. It would give Iran the capability to intercept cruise missiles and short-and medium range ballistic missiles.

Saudi Arabia and Israel both have ballistic missiles in their armouries.

The presence of these missiles on Iranian soil would make any strike against Iran significantly more risky.

Russia has in the past used arms sales – or even just the threat of arms sales - to Iran as diplomatic leverage over Europe and the US.