By David Daoud
Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmayeeli, the Commander of Iran’s Khatamul Anbia Air Defense Base, announced on Monday that his country does not intend to reverse engineer the sophisticated Russian S-300 missile air defense system.
According to Esmayeeli, “S-300 is an operational system and doesn’t need reverse engineering,” and “since the S-300 is a defensive operational system, it will be deployed in specific spots and will not be reverse engineered.”
According to semi-official state news agency Fars, Esmayeeli also emphasized that the Khatamul Anbia Air Defense Base’s experts have undergone the necessary training, and are ready to use the Russian-made missile defense shield.
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his decision to end a ban on the sale of the S-300 missile defense shield to Iran. Iran’s Defense Minister, Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan said the “decision came as a result of the two countries’ political leaders’ will to develop and promote cooperation in all fields.”
Dehqan also announced that Iran would be testing its own, home-made version of the S-300 system, called the Bavar 373 – which it claims was designed and developed after the Russians embargoed the delivery of their systems – before the end of the current Iranian year. He told reporters, “we expect to be able to test the [domestic] production model of the S-300 by the end of the current [Iranian] year.”
In April, Iran displayed its Bavar 373 missile defense system during military parades south of Tehran. The Iranians claimed their domestic version is superior to the Russian original, with increased mobility, agility and reduced launch-preparation time.
Israel has long lobbied against the sale of the advanced weaponry to Iran, fearing it may hinder a military operation against Iran’s nuclear sites.