Russia has ensured that it will honor a deal providing Iran with the S-300 sophisticated anti-aircraft system, Tehran’s envoy to Moscow says.
Mohammad-Reza Sajjadi on Friday rejected reports that Russia had pulled out of the deal due to a delay in the delivery of the system to Iran.
“We had heard reports that Russia would not deliver these systems to Iran, but we asked the Russian side and they denied it,” he told reporters in Moscow.
“The delivery deadline has already passed, but the Russian side has cited technical problems which it said it was working on to fix,” Sajjadi added. “We feel that this question will be resolved within one to two months.”
He said neither Iran nor Russia planned to “go back” on the contract, which he said was “profitable” for both sides.
Russia’s procrastination over the delivery of the advanced system to Iran has drawn harsh criticism from officials in Tehran.
Earlier this month, Chief of Staff of Iran’s Joint Armed Forces Hassan Firouzabadi questioned Moscow’s motivation for the delay. He said under a contract signed between the two countries, the Russian government was expected to supply Iran with the system aimed at boosting the country’s defensive capabilities.
“The delivery is more than six months overdue,” the top official said, urging Russia to expedite the process of delivery.
Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi also said that Russia had a “contractual obligation” to provide Iran with the system.
“We have made a deal with the Kremlin to buy S-300 defense missiles,” he said, referring to a contract signed between Tehran and Moscow in 2007.
“We don’t think Russian officials would want to be seen in the world as contract violators,” he added.
Iran has been trying to obtain the sophisticated defense system to improve its deterrence power in reaction to Israeli war rhetoric.
According to Western experts, the S-300 missile defense system would shield Iranian nuclear sites against any Israeli airstrike.
The S-300 system, which can track targets and fire at aircraft 120 km (75 miles) away, features high jamming immunity and is able to simultaneously engage up to 100 targets.