Russia is not going to deliver the S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria, according to Alexander Fomin, head of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS), who spoke to the press on Tuesday, TASS reported.
“There are no such plans as of today,” Fomin said, in response to a question regarding Russian negotiations with the Assad regime on selling them the missile systems.
Meanwhile, according to Fomin, Russia is already supplying the S-300 missile systems to Iran—ahead of schedule—and is in talks with Tehran on purchases of additional military equipment. “We have contracts with Iran, other contracts are also possible, but the talk is only about the permitted supplies, which are not on the UN’s ban list.”
On April 11, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in a radio interview with Ekho Moskvy that Russia had started deliver of S-300 systems to Iran, with the deal 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,” he said.
Russia and Iran signed a contract in 2007 for the supply of five S-300PMU-1 battalions, but then, in 2010, then-President Dmitry Medvedev banned the supply of the systems to Tehran, following a deal with Israel which compensated Russia by promising not to compete with Russian natural gas in Europe. The Iran contract, worth more than $800 million, was annulled and the paid advance was returned to Iran, which filed a $4 billion lawsuit against Russia at the Geneva Court of Arbitration. That suit has now been cancelled.
The S-300 system was developed to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles for the Soviet Air Defense Forces. Subsequent variations were developed to intercept ballistic missiles. It is regarded as one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems currently in operation. An evolved version of the S-300 system, the S-400, entered limited service in 2004.
In 2014, the Syrian government requested Moscow to supply the S-300 air defense missile systems to the Syrian army in anticipation of “a possible US attack” on Syria.
According to a source in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida, Russia received intelligence from Israel a year ago that Tehran had violated an agreement with Moscow not to pass on advanced Russian-made weaponry to the terror group Hezbollah, its proxy in Lebanon. President Putin was handed intelligence from Israel showing that Iran had supplied Hezbollah with Russian-made SA-22 surface-to-air missile systems.
According to Al Jarida, Russia confirmed this information with surveillance flights over Lebanon and Syria, using their own anti-missile radars to detect the systems which had been moved to Lebanon.