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News number: 8710021569

17:23 | 2008-12-22

Defence

نسخه چاپي ارسال به دوستان

Iran Signs Deal with Russia on Delivery of S-300 Missile System

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iranian lawmaker said that Tehran has finalized an agreement with Moscow for the delivery of a powerful anti-aircraft missile system.



Deputy Head of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Ismail Kowsari said Sunday that Tehran has reached an agreement with Moscow on the delivery of the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile system after years of negotiations.

"The missile system would be used to enhance Iran's defense capabilities and to protect the country's sovereignty," Kowsari told the Islamic republic news agency.

The confirmation came after Haaretz reported on Tuesday that Israel would send the head of political military policy in the Israeli Defense Ministry, Major General Amos Gilad, to press the Kremlin not to supply Iran with S-300 missile defense systems.

The Iranian official responded, however, that Israeli reactions to Tehran-Moscow military cooperation would not affect the deal.

Later on Wednesday, Russia announced that it is fulfilling the controversial deal and would deliver the anti-aircraft system to Iran.

"Moscow has earlier met its obligations on supplying Tor-M1 systems to Iran and is currently implementing a contract to deliver S-300 systems," RIA Novosti quoted an unnamed Russian source as saying.

Western countries have criticized Russian sales of defensive military equipment to Iran, saying that such deals have sabotaged efforts to retard Iranian nuclear progress.

The advance version of the S-300 system, the S-300PMU1 (SA-20 Gargoyle), can intercept 100 ballistic missiles and aircraft at once, at low and high altitudes within a range of over 150 kilometers.

According to intelligence officials familiar with the defense capabilities of the S-300, the missile system would effectively rule out an Israeli war against Iran.

The S-300 missile defense system -- capable of intercepting 100 ballistic missiles or aircraft at once, at low and high altitudes within a range of over 150 kilometers.

"If Tehran obtained the S-300, it would be a game-changer in military thinking for tackling Iran," says long-time Pentagon advisor Dan Goure.

Israel and its close ally the United States accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Both Washington and Tel Aviv possess advanced weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads.

Iran vehemently denies the charges, insisting that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

In preparation for military action against Iran, Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier in June.

According to a report by the New York Times, more than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuvers over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece.

Later reports claimed that Greece, which is equipped with the same version of the S-300 surface-to-air missile system, assisted the Israeli Air Force in studying the system.

Iran has, in return, warned that it would target Israel and its worldwide interests in case it comes under attack by the Tel Aviv.

A US attack on the Syrian village of Sukkariyah on October 26, has also raised speculation about the likelihood of a US unilateral strike on the Islamic Republic.

The United States has also always stressed that military action is a main option for the White House to deter Iran's progress in the field of nuclear technology.

Iran has warned it could close the strategic Strait of Hormoz if it became the target of a military attack over its nuclear program.

Strait of Hormoz, the entrance to the strategic Persian Gulf waterway, is a major oil shipping route.

Meantime, a recent study by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a prestigious American think tank, has found that a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities "is unlikely" to delay the country's program.

The ISIS study also cautioned that an attack against Iran would backfire by compelling the country to acquire nuclear weaponry.

Intensified threats by Tel Aviv and Washington of military action against Iran contradict a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies which endorsed the civilian nature of Iran's nuclear plans and activities.

Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head - one in November and the other one in February - which praised Iran's truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions or launch military attack on Iran seems to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran's cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran's nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

The UN nuclear watchdog has also carried out at least 14 surprise inspections of Iran's nuclear sites so far, but found nothing to support West's allegations.

Following the said reports by the US and international bodies, many world states have called the UN Security Council pressure against Tehran unjustified, demanding that Iran's case be normalized and returned from the UNSC to the IAEA.