Defense Chief Attending Moscow Security Conference

Defense Chief   Attending Moscow Security Conference    Defense Chief   Attending Moscow Security Conference

The defense minister left Tehran for Moscow on Wednesday to attend the 3rd Moscow Conference on International Security at the invitation of his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.

Before departure, Lieutenant General Hossein Dehqan pointed to the Kremlin’s decision on Monday to lift a ban on the delivery of S-300 air defense systems to Iran, saying “Since the current administration came to office (in 2013), we have been pursuing the issue of the sale of the S-300 system to Iran.”

In his meetings with Iranian officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded the dropping of the lawsuit Iran had filed with an international court against its northern neighbor over its failure to fulfill its commitments under a contract with Iran to deliver the missile systems, he said, stressing, “The policy of the establishment was to (ensure that Iran will) receive the systems (only) based on the terms of the contract,” IRNA reported. In the last edition of the conference, the issue of S-300 missiles was raised and “during the Russian’s defense minister’s trip to Iran, we agreed to resolve the matter within a certain framework.”

“The Russian side pursued the matter seriously as it was keen to see it settled,” Dehqan said, adding that during his trip, the contract will be finalized.

Moscow and Tehran signed an $800 million deal in late 2007 on the purchase of S-300 missile systems, but three years later Russia decided not to ship the air defense systems to Iran under the pretext that it was covered by the fourth round of the United Nations Security Council sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program. In 2013, Russians announced that Iran-bound S-300 anti-aircraft systems were dismantled and recycled, which prompted Iran to file a complaint on the issue with the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva. Dehqan and Shoigu held a meeting in Tehran on January 20, which was followed by Russia’s RIA state news’ report that the issue was once again under discussion.

Moscow announced a decision on February 23 to offer Iran its latest Antey-2500 anti-aircraft missiles instead of S-300 surface-to-air missiles.