Russia Confirms 1st Delivery of S-300

Russia Confirms 1st Delivery of S-300Russia Confirms 1st Delivery of S-300

Russia confirmed it has begun the long-delayed delivery of the S-300 surface-to-air system to Iran, which was banned before Tehran clinched the July 2015 deal with world powers on its nuclear program.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said his country has already sent the first batch of S-300 systems to Iran, adding that he expected the delivery to be completed by the end of the year.

"We are acting in strict compliance with the contract. They pay, we sell. We have already started. It is a supply in full sets," Russian news agency TASS quoted him as saying in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

"I cannot say what exactly has been supplied, but the supply was conducted by a logistics route elaborated by Russian and Iranian specialists."

Russia and Iran concluded a contract on the supply of five battalions of the S-300 system in 2007. However, in autumn 2010, Dmitry Medvedev, the then president, banned the sales of the systems to Tehran due to UN sanctions imposed on Iran.

The contract, worth more than $800 million, was canceled and the advance payment was returned to the Iranian side.

Later, Tehran lodged a $4 billion lawsuit at an international court in Geneva against Moscow over its failure to fulfill its obligations under the contract.

President Vladimir Putin lifted that self-imposed ban in April 2015, after an interim nuclear agreement between Iran and major powers that paved the way for July's comprehensive nuclear deal.

The deal went into force in January to lift sanctions against Iran in return for temporary restrictions on its nuclear program.

"After receiving the first delivery of the systems, Iran agreed to drop charges against Russia," Rogozin said.

"They have agreed it with the Majlis, their parliament, so, the [S-300] deal is being realized in full."

Tasnim News Agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hossein Jaber Ansari as saying in a weekly press briefing on Monday that "the first part" of the delivery has been completed.

Iranian state television demonstrated the footage of the truck convoy importing the S-300 systems.

The Kremlin did not comment on the issue on Monday.

"I'll leave it without comment", Russian presidential press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters. The Iranian Foreign Ministry, however, issued a statement later in the day, noting that its spokesperson's remarks had been misunderstood and misquoted by the media.

"At today's briefing on the delivery of the S-300 system, Jaberi Ansari said 'the agreements between the two countries are being implemented. The first phase of the contract is ongoing and we hope that all phases of the contract are completed'," the statement was cited by ISNA.

  US Reaction   

The US State Department reacted to the reports, reiterating opposition to Russia supplying advanced missile systems to Iran.  

"We are aware of reports of progress towards the delivery by Russia of the S-300 defensive missile system to Iran," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said at a daily briefing.

"You know where we stand on this. We've long objected to the sale to Iran of these kinds of sophisticated defense capabilities," he said, according to a transcript of his remarks posted on the department's website.

The S-300 system was first deployed at the height of the Cold War in 1979.

In its updated form, it is one of the most advanced systems of its kind and, according to British security think tank RUSI, can engage multiple aircraft and ballistic missiles about 150 km away.