Russia cancels S-300 sale to Iran
Russia will not sell its S-300 anti-missile systems to Iran, General Staff Chief Nikolay Makarov said. In his brief and sudden statement, the officer stressed that these weapons fall within the new sanctions against Tehran imposed by the UN Security Council.
The statement came as a bombshell, although the situation has been inevitably moving towards this for quite a long time. Moscow’ decision to cancel the agreement on S-300 supplies can hardly be called spontaneous. Senior Fellow at the Institute for Oriental Studies Boris Dolgov revealed one of the major reasons for this.
Indeed, this statement by the top Russian military official can be perceived as sensational, especially given our country’s determination to fulfill its contract obligations. And still, relations between Iran and Russia have changed, following Tehran’s continued confrontation with the international community and refusal to make any concessions in terms of its nuclear program.
The S-300 is a series of Russian long-range surface-to-air missile systems, considered to be one of the most effective means for defending high-security facilities, both government and military. Used for the defense of military bases, troops, and missile launch-pads, the S-300 considerably surpasses similar US Patriot systems, deployed both in America and in a number of foreign countries, including Israel. The system is capable of guiding up to twelve missiles, while simultaneously tracking six targets. Moreover, the battery takes only five minutes to be deployed.
The 800-million-dollar contract on supplying Iran with S-300 systems was signed back in 2007, but Russia decided to temporarily freeze the delivery. The treaty was subjected to strong criticism on the part of the United States and Israel, who feared that Tehran would use Russian air defense systems to defend its nuclear facilities.
Several weeks ago, Iran’s military made it clear that they aren’t waiting any longer for similar weapons from abroad. The country started producing its own long-range missile systems, expected to become operational in the nearest future.
There were also a number of reports that Iran has already received four S-300 batteries from the third countries. Although denied, these statements testify to Iran’s capability of building an effective air defense system and even striking back if attacked.
As for the Iranian government’s response, recently President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned of a “war without limits” in case Washington attacks his country. But the US will hardly venture upon such a step, even though the experience of Iraq and Afghanistan obviously disproves this.