Russia starts shipment of advanced S-300 missiles to Iran

The Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system at the Victory Parade in Red Square in May 2009. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( Russian has started the delivery of the advanced S-300 air defense system to Iran, despite American and Israeli objections. 

“The contract is in action. They’ve begun,” Russian presidential aide for military-technical cooperation Vladimir Kozhin said, the Russian news agency TASS reported. 

The S-300 surface-to-air-missile was initially developed under the Soviet Union, and its newer variants are regarded as the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems in the world.

Initially signed in 2007, the $800 million deal between Iran and Russia for the S-300 system was suspended in 2010. But in April, Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted the suspension after the framework nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers. A Russian official in early November, several months after the final nuclear deal was reached, confirmed that the sale was moving forward.

The move comes despite Israeli-Russian military coordination over the Syrian civil war in order to avoid inadvertent clashes such as the recent incident in which a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian fighter jet.

The U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia have all opposed the sale of the S-300 system to Iran. Israel and the U.S. fear that the missile defense system could make it more difficult to use the military option against Iran’s nuclear program.

Posted on December 3, 2015 .