Delivery of advance missiles to Iran under review: Russia
Moscow: Russia is yet to finalise the delivery of advance air defence systems to Iran and will not freeze the contract as a concession to the US, an official said on Thursday.
Russia signed a contract with Iran for the supply of S-300 air defence systems in December 2005. However, there have been no official reports about the start of the contract`s implementation since then.
"The issue of S-300 deliveries (to Iran) is still under discussion. There are some technical and other problems," said Konstantin Biryulin, deputy director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.
The possible delivery of these missiles to Iran has aroused serious concerns in the West and in Israel.
The official denied media reports that Russia could freeze the Iranian contract in exchange for Washington`s decision about not placing the interceptor missiles in Poland and a missile tracking radar in the Czech Republic.
"I do not understand why there is so much media frenzy over the deliveries of S-300 to this region... Russia has the right to decide on its own whether to deliver these systems to any country which is not under the UN Security Council`s sanctions," Biryulin said.
He also denied the link between the recent talks on the delivery of these systems to Saudi Arabia and the Iranian contract. Media reports earlier said that Russia may have plans to sell S-300 to Saudi Arabia instead of Iran to compensate for the potential financial losses.
"If Saudi Arabia asks us to deliver S-300s, we will consider the request without linking it to other countries. Russia has never delivered military equipment to a country while hurting the interests of another country," the official said.
The latest version of the S-300 series is the S-300PMU2 Favorit, which has a range of up to 195 km (about 120 miles) and can intercept aircrafts and ballistic missiles at altitudes from 10 metre to 27 km.
It is considered to be one of the world`s most effective all-altitude regional air defence systems, comparable to the US` MIM-104 Patriot system.
Iranian Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi urged Russia on Wednesday to fulfil its contract of supplying S-300 air defence systems to Iran.
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