Russia finalizes air defense missile contract with Iran

Russia finalizes air defense missile contract with Iran

MOSCOW - The Associated Press
Russia finalizes air defense missile contract with Iran

In this file photo taken on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 a Russian air defense missile system Antey 2500, or S-300 VM, is on display at the opening of the MAKS Air Show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow. AP Photo

Russia has finalized a contract for the delivery of advanced air-defense missile systems to Iran, the head of a Russian state-controlled industrial conglomerate said on Nov. 9.

Sergei Chemezov, the head of Russian Technologies, the holding company that includes the Rosoboronexport arms trader, said on a trip to Dubai that “the contract with Iran for the S-300 has entered into force,” according to Russian news agencies.

Russia in 2010 froze a deal to supply advanced S-300 missile systems to Iran, linking the decision to U.N. sanctions. President Vladimir Putin lifted the suspension earlier this year following Iran’s deal with six world powers that curbed its nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.

Once the first part of the contract is fulfilled, Moscow expects Iran to drop its lawsuit at a court in Geneva seeking damages for the suspension of the original deal, Chemezov said.

He wouldn’t specify what version of the system Russia will supply or when the delivery will be made. Russian officials have said that the specific model of the S-300 that Russia was to deliver under the 2007 contract is no longer produced, and offered Iran a modified version of it.

The missile system deal has long worried Israel and other countries in the region, as well as the U.S., which see it as destabilizing.

Arieh Herzog, a former head of Israel’s Missile Defense Program, said he didn’t expect the shipment to set off a regional arms race and that as far as Israel was concerned its main impact was to complicate any potential Israeli airstrike against Iran.