The Iran-Russia contract on the supply of S-300 missile defense systems to Tehran will be implemented by March of 2017 (the end of the Iranian year), a senior Iranian commander announced on Sunday, according to the semiofficial Iranian Fars news agency.
“The supply of the S-300 missile defense system is moving on its natural course and the remaining parts will be supplied to Iran by the end of the current year,” Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli was quoted as having said.
Russia’s sale of the S-300 systems to Iran, originally agreed upon in 2007, has been repeatedly delayed due to Western pressure given that UN nuclear sanctions ban the delivery to Iran.
But last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree lifting a ban on the delivery of the S-300 systems to Iran, and explaining that his decision was motivated by Iran’s drive to find a solution in talks over its nuclear program, which led to a controversial nuclear deal last July.
Since then there have been repeated reports that the delivery of the missile systems was imminent.
In early April, Iran’s Foreign Ministry claimed that the transfer of the surface-to-air system was underway, only to retract that statement later.
A week later, a Russian official said Iran would receive the Russian-made systems by the end of this year.
A battalion of the S-300 missile defense system was showed off in military parades in Tehran earlier this year without displaying the missiles, noted Fars.
In relevant remarks earlier this month, Esmayeeli said that the S-300 missile defense system will go operational by the end of current Iranian year.
“The S-300 air defense system is being mounted and deployed and it will go into operation by the end of the current year,” General Esmayeeli told reporters during a rally in Tehran attended by millions of Iranians to mark the International Quds Day.
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