A Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson has flatly denied reports from Tehran that a delivery of the S-300 anti-missile defense system is due to arrive from Moscow this week.
The spokesperson told the TASS news agency that Iranian claims the first batch would arrive Thursday are “out of the question.” He said on Wednesday, “The beginning of deliveries of the first consignment of Favorit missile systems cannot take place since the Iranian side has not paid the price written in the contract as of Feb. 16.”
Last week, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehgan told international media the first shipment of the S-300 systems would arrive within the next two months.
The S-300 is a long-range surface-to-air missile designed to intercept aircraft and cruise missiles. The most advanced versions of the system can also target ballistic missiles.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hossein Jaberi Ansari claimed earlier in the week that a shipment of the system is already on its way to Tehran.
A Russian presidential aide for military-technical cooperation told TASS in December 2015, “The contract is in action.” But it was the Iranian ambassador to Russia, Mehdi Sanai, who claimed in November 2015 that Iran was already receiving the first S-300 systems.
These claims and denials have been going back and forth for months, but at the end of the day, Iran has yet to receive the system and it is not at all clear whether Tehran has paid for it.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the S-300 system poses no threat to Israel. He was quoted in an article published in the April 2015 edition of Russia Today as saying the system “will not put at risk the security of any state in the region, including Israel.”Hana Levi Julian