The "3rd Khordad" (Khordad is the third month of the Iranian calendar—ed) air defense system is a notional Iranian stand-in for the S-300 system Russia stalled on providing the Islamic Republic. The 3rd Khordad system, developed and manufactured by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)'s military industries, was seemingly a copy of the Russian S-300, created to mimic the Russian S-300. The SA-10 (S-300) is a highly capable long-range all-altitude SAM. As early as 1994 it was reported that Iran had six SA-10 batteries (with some 96 missiles) on order from Russia. In February 1997 a $90 million sale of 36 missiles to Iran and three older SA-10 SAM systems, made up of components from Russia, Croatia, and Kazakhstan, fell through. On 30 December 2000 an announcement was made in Russia that Iran had informed Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev about Iran's desire to purchase the S-300 anti-missile system. In March 2001 there were reports tha the Russians were close to cutting a deal with Iran on advanced missiles. Itar-Tass reported that Iran would soon close the deal on the Russian Tor-M1, Tor-M1T, and the S-300 surface-to-air missiles.
An $800 million contract to supply Iran with the S-300 missile system was signed at the end of 2007. Moscow was to supply five S-300PMU-1 battalions to Tehran. In December 2007 Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said Russia had agreed to deliver to Iran an unspecified number of advanced S-300 air defense complexes under a previously signed contract. However, Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said the issue of the delivery of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran was not a subject of current or past negotiations. Israeli defense sources said in July 2008 that Iran was expected to take delivery of Russian S-300 air defense systems by the end of 2008.
On 01 September 2008 it was reported that Russia may proceed with plans to sell advanced S-300 air defense systems to Iran under a secret contract believed to have been signed in 2005. Commenting on an article in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper saying Russia is using the plans as a bargaining chip in its standoff with America, Ruslan Pukhov, director of Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said: "In the current situation, when the U.S. and the West in general are stubbornly gearing toward a confrontation with Russia after the events in South Ossetia, the implementation of a lucrative contract on the deliveries of S-300 [air defense systems] to Iran looks like a logical step." Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi denied reports that Tehran had bought S-300 air defense systems from Russia. "Our missile and technical capability completely depends on the efforts of Iranian scientists," he said.
On 22 December 2008 the Russian federal service for military cooperation said in a statement that Russia was not selling S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran. "Reports on deliveries of S-300 systems are untrue," the statement said. An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tel Aviv had received assurances from Russia that it had not started S-300 deliveries to Tehran.
The Maltese-flagged cargo vessel Arctic Sea, officially carrying lumber from Russia to Algeria, was reportedly boarded by a group of eight men on 24 July 2009 and mysteriously disappeared in the Atlantic. It was discovered off Cape Verde on 16 August 2009 by a Russian warship and was towed to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk. Russian and international media was rife with rumors that the Russian-operated ship could have been involved in an arms-smuggling or trafficking operation on a state level, including suggestions that Russia attempted to deliver missiles for S-300 air defense systems to Iran or Syria. Russian investigators said that a through search of the Arctic Sea had been conducted and just lumber registered in the ship's cargo log had been found. "The presence of S-300 on board the Arctic Sea cargo ship is a complete lie," Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow on 08 September 2009.
In September 2010, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree canceling the contract in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1929, which bans the supply to Iran of conventional weapons including missiles and missile systems, tanks, attack helicopters, warplanes and ships. The termination of Iranian contracts, whatever its reasons, dealt a painful blow to the export revenues of Russian arms manufacturers, notably the companies specializing in air defense systems. According to some estimates, the contract for the supply of five S-300PMU batteries could have exceeded $800 million, with compensation payments estimated at $400 million.
Iran’s Defense Ministry and the Aerospace Industries Organization launched a $4 billion lawsuit against Rosoboronexport in an international arbitration court in Geneva in April 2011. According to Iranian officials, Tehran will withdraw its lawsuit only if Russia fulfills the original contract. Tehran has insisted that the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems do not fall under the UN sanctions because they are considered defensive weapons.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree allowing S-300 deliveries to Iran on 13 April 2015. The document came into force on the day it was signed. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia’s voluntary embargo on deliveries of S-300 missile systems to Iran is no longer needed due to progress in the resolution of the situation around Iran’s nuclear program.
"Initially, the decision to suspend the implementation of the contract, which was already signed and came into force, was made in September 2010," he recalled. "It was done in the interests of support for consolidated efforts of the six international negotiators to stimulate a maximally constructive process of talks on settlement of the situation around Iran’s nuclear program." The minister particularly stressed that "it was done absolutely voluntarily."
The Obama administration expressed concern 13 April 2015 over Russia's possible sale of sophisticated S-300 air defense systems to Iran, after President Vladimir Putin lifted a ban on supplying the advanced surface-to-air missile systems to the Islamic Republic. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the administration had previously made known its objection to Russia's possible sale of S-300s to Iran, and that Secretary of State John Kerry "had the opportunity to raise these concerns once again in a recent conversation" with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Explaining the decision to lift the ban on providing S-300s to Iran, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that given the progress reached between Iran and the six P5+1 world powers (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany) recently in nuclear talks, the rationale for the international embargo on supplying Tehran with S-300s, and Russia's own ban, had "completely disappeared." Lavrov added that the S-300 is "exclusively defensive in nature, not adapted for offensive purposes and will not jeopardize the security of any state in the region, including, of course, Israel."
While Russia’s proposed sale of the advanced S-300 air defense missile system to Iran does not violate UN Security Council resolutions, the United States needs more details to determine if the sale could violate US sanctions against Iran, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on 16 April 2015. “The transfer of this defensive weapons system [S-300] is not prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions, and we would need to know more about the specific program to determine the impact it would have on US sanctions programs,” Earnest said at a press briefing.
US President Barack Obama played down concerns over Russia’s plans to lift a ban on the sales of S-300 air defense systems to Iran, claiming that the US could bypass the system, if it had to. “We have to keep this in perspective. Our defense budget is somewhere just a little under $600 billion. Theirs [Iran’s] is a little over $17 billion. Even if they’ve got some air defense systems, if we had to, we could penetrate them,” warned the president.
On 13 April 2015 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree authorizing the delivery to Iran of S-300. The issue of S-300 air defense systems deliveries to Iran should be elaborated, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told TASS on 23 April 2015. "Since the contract was concluded long ago, naturally that it's impossible to just dust it off in the form it has been preserved," Ryabkov said. "I can say that except adapting the contract for being implemented right now, we should clarify the situation with Iran’s lawsuit against the Russian side for improper fulfilment of that contract," he said. "We expect the problem to be solved at the bilateral agenda."
The contract to supply Iran with anti-aircraft missile systems S-300 was signed and entered into force, Sergey Chemezov, the head of the state corporation "Rostec" (which includes "Rosoboronexport"), told reporters 09 November 2015. "The contract with Iran on the C-300 went into effect," - he said, without specifying what the modification of anti-aircraft systems will be delivered. "I think that when completed will be the first part (of the contract), Iran will clear to us the claim" - said Chemezov. Previous contract to supply five battalions of S-300 has been signed with Iran in 2007, but the fall of 2010, Dmitry Medvedev, who was then president of Russia, had banned the supply of these systems to Tehran.
Iran will receive the Russian anti-aircraft missiles (SAM) C-300 by the end of the year, which the Iranian calendar ends March 20, 2016. This was announced by Defense Minister of the Islamic Republic, Brigadier General Hossein dehgans 11 November 2015. "The country will receive the Russian system of" surface-to-air "S-300 at the end of the year" - brought him word channel Press TV. Dehgans added that Iran "will get most of the" party of missiles in less than two months. The Minister also said that "Iran has acquired many S-300, as he needs." In addition, he said that the Iranians are currently undergoing training in Russia operating systems.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on 30 December 2015 that delivery of S-300 advanced anti-missile air defense system to Iran had begun. Rogozin told Russian State TV channel two that delivery of the S-300 to Iran was underway. Russian Deputy Prime Minister said that delivery of the advanced air defense system will open up new opportunities for cooperation with Iran in the technical and military as well as other fields.
In a deal that would have been barred prior to the nuclear agreement, Russia began delivering advanced surface-to-air missiles to Iran April 11, 2016. Mehr news agency quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari as saying, "Iran had already announced that despite several times of change in time of delivery the deal is on its path of implementation" and "the first phase of the agreement is implemented and the process will continue."
When Iran took delivery of the missiles in July 2016, it became obvious that a revised contract between Tehran and Moscow was specifically on the purchase of S300-PMU2 model. In the same month, Iran’s Air Defense Commander Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili announced that S-300 would be fully brought into operation until end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2017).
Iran got 4 battalions - 1 battalion = up to 6 batteries = up to 48 TELs = up to 192 missiles. The S-300 is a long-range surface-to-air missile system, and can engage aircraft, cruise missiles and theater ballistic missiles. One S-300 battery usually consists of an engagement radar, a low-altitude radar, and up to eight transporter erector launchers (TEL) with four launch tubes each. Each tube carries one surface-to-air missile. A battalion comprises up to six batteries in addition to a command/fire and control post, as well as an extra target acquisition radar unit.
The Iranian Air Defense conducted a test on 03 March 2017 of the Russia-supplied S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile system, evaluating its performance in different combat scenarios. The drill was dubbed Damavand and was attended by senior military commanders and officials. The Russian system was pitted against various aerial targets with small radar cross-section, including a ballistic missile, which the S-300 “smashed,” according to Air Defense Commander Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili. The Iranian military also ran a simulation of electronic warfare countermeasures to test the ability of the S-300 to lock on targets in difficult conditions.
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