S-300 system

Iran is reportedly hoping to receive its long-pending consignment of the S-300 surface-to-air missile (SAM) defence system from Russia.

Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying: "Iran continues to view the S-300 contract as legitimate and not a subject of international sanctions as it was signed before the introduction of sanctions and the [S-300] is a defensive rather than an offensive system.

"Iran is still expecting the implementation of the contract.

"We hope that the [recent] visit of [Russian Defence Minister Sergei] Shoigu to Tehran is a good sign."

Tehran had ordered a total of five S-300PMU-1 systems from Moscow under an $800m deal in 2007, but the contract was cancelled by former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev following a fourth UN Security Council arms embargo against Iran in June 2010.

Iran sued Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport at the Geneva International Court of Justice in April 2011, demanding the company to either honour the contract or pay compensation.

"Iran is still expecting the implementation of the contract."

While the country had demanded compensation of $900m for Russia’s failure to honour the contract, the court added a further $3bn, bringing the claim to $4bn, as reported earlier by the news agency.

In an attempt to bypass the lawsuit, Russia offered to deliver additional Tor-M1E SAM missile systems and then the Antei-2500 anti-ballistic missile systems after Iran rejected the previous offer.

Earlier this month, Iran’s Fars News Agency reported that two countries are expected to resolve problems associated with the delivery of an advanced missile system.

Russian Defence Ministry department of international cooperation former head colonel general Leonid Ivashov told RIA Novosti: "A step was taken in the direction of cooperation on the economy and arms technology, at least for such defensive systems such as the S-300 and S-400.

"Probably we will deliver them."

The S-300 is developed by NPO Almaz Bureau. It is a mobile, long-range air defence system designed to detect, track, and destroy incoming cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and high and low-flying strike aircraft.

Different S-300 variants are currently operational with Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, China, Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

Image: An S-300 anti-aircraft missile system at the Victory Parade in Russia. Photo: courtesy of kremlin.ru.