Iran expects Russia to deliver powerful S-300 air-defence missile systems within two months despite fierce objections from the United States and Israel, Tehran’s ambassador to Moscow has said.
Moscow missed its initial deadline to deliver the S-300s, which could defend Iranian nuclear facilities against an Israeli strike, but has reassured Tehran that they will arrive soon, Ambassador Mahmoud Reza Sajadi said.
‘There were statements by certain individuals that these weapons systems would not be delivered to Iran. But when we asked the responsible officials, they denied these statements,’ Sajadi told a press briefing in Moscow.
‘From the tone of the discussion we feel that within one or two months, this question will be resolved,’ he said, adding that Russian officials had blamed technical problems for the delay.
Russia is under intense Western pressure to distance itself from Iran in the long-running dispute over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, but Moscow has refused to block the delivery of the S-300 system.
Moscow has also refused to bow to Western pressure to scrap its construction of Iran’s first nuclear power plant at the city of Bushehr. Iran expects the plant to come online by the start of the Iranian New Year on March 21, Sajadi said.
The truck-mounted S-300PMU1, known in the West as the SA-20, can shoot down cruise missiles and aircraft. It can fire at targets up to 150 km (90 miles) away.
Analysts say it could seriously disrupt an Israeli air strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
A senior Iranian military official said this week that Iran could take legal action if Russia refused to fulfil its commitment to deliver the systems. –Reuters