Russia is ready to restart a deal to deliver advanced S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran if the UN lifts its sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Iran’s semi-official state news agency Fars reported on Friday, citing a leading Russian defense expert.
The new possibility follows the announcement on Thursday of a framework nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers which will include the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
“Lifting sanctions on Iran, including the arms embargo, would be an absolutely logical thing to do,” said Igor Korotchenko, who heads the Global Arms Trade Analysis Center think tank in Moscow. “Of key importance to us is the delivery of the upgraded S-300 missiles to Iran… A contract to this effect could be resumed on terms acceptable to both Moscow and Tehran.”
Tehran and Moscow signed a deal in January to expand their defense cooperation and also resolve issues that have prevented the delivery of Russia’s S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran in recent years. The agreement was penned by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan and his Russian counterpart General Sergei Shoigu.
Iran originally signed a $800 million contract to buy five S-300 batteries from Russia in 2007. The deal was strongly opposed by the US and Israel and was delayed in 2010 by then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev because of Iranian sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council. Iran then sued Russia for $4 billion in the international arbitration court in Geneva and the lawsuit is currently pending review.
In February, Russia also offered to supply Iran with Antey-2500 missiles, an upgraded version of the S-300 air defense system.
In 2013, Russia contracted an agreement to deliver S-300 missiles to Syria, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vehemently opposed. Netanyahu reportedly told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israel would destroy a Russian delivery of missiles to Syria.