- - Monday, April 11, 2016

The Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system is one of the most advanced medium-range defensive weapons in the world. It can engage multiple aircraft at low to high altitude, up to 90 miles away. It is battle tested and in high demand from militaries around the world. U.N. sanctions prevented Russia from selling the S-300 to Iran. However, the nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration and world powers has allowed the weapons transfer to proceed. Russia is keen to sell Iran as many weapons as it wants to earn hard foreign currency to help Russia’s moribund economy rebound.

In a recorded transmission, state television showed Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari telling a news conference on Monday: “I announce today that the first phase of this [delayed] contract has been implemented.” Mr. Ansari was replying to reporters’ questions about videos on social media showing what appeared to be parts of an S-300 missile system on trucks in northern Iran, reported Reuters.

Israel has voiced strong concern over Iran acquiring the S-300. It will make the task of destroying Iran’s nuclear capability very difficult for the Israeli Air Force, if it decides to attempt to do so. Israel has destroyed probably S-300 transfers inside Syria several times in recent years as the technology is very capable and effective.

In addition to the S-300, Iran plans to license production of the Russian T-90 tank and has expressed interest in front-line Russian fighters like the SU-34. Russia is also assisting Iran in rebuilding its nuclear energy capability.

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