Russia Begins Shipping Advanced Missiles to Iran
Policy + Politics

Russia Begins Shipping Advanced Missiles to Iran

REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin

Russia’s S-300 air defense missile system has officially arrived in Iran.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi-Ansari told a news conference on Monday that "the first stage of the contract” with Moscow “has been implemented.”

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Russia and Iran signed an $800 million contract in 2007 for the supply of five S-300 systems, but the deal was frozen in 2010 due to U.N sanctions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin approved delivery of the air defense missile system last year and the delayed contract got the full green light after international sanctions were lifted against Tehran following the recent nuclear agreement.

First deployed in 1979, the S-300, produced by the Russian state corporation Rostec, can be used against aircraft or other missiles.

S-300 Defense System

While Israel and the U.S. fear the missiles could be used to protect Iranian nuclear sites from air strikes, the Obama administration hasn’t formally objected to the sale of the S-300 system to Tehran. Last week a State Department spokesman said the purchase was allowed under existing U.N. resolutions because it is considered defensive.

It’s unclear how many missiles have been delivered to Iran so far but Russian officials have said they expect deliveries to wrap up some time in 2016.