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Tehran warns Moscow over S-300 missile delivery delays

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, February 9 (RIA Novosti) - Failure to deliver S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Tehran could provoke bad feelings in the Islamic Republic, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

In a thinly veiled reference to Russia, Ramin Mihman-Parast said that "all countries should honor their commitments."

"Failure to fulfill one's obligations will leave a negative imprint in the memory of the Iranian public," he said.

Russia signed a contract with Iran on the supply of at least five S-300 air defense systems to Tehran in December 2005. However, there have been no official reports on the start of the contract's implementation.

The IRNA news agency said Monday Iran had developed its own air defense system comparable to and even more sophisticated than the Russian S-300 system.

Iranian Ambassador to Russia Seyyed Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi earlier said the S-300 contract had been plagued by technical problems.

However, many experts believe Moscow has refused so far to honor the S-300 contract due to pressure from Washington and Tel Aviv.

Both the United States and Israel have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program and have expressed concern over S-300 deliveries, which would significantly strengthen Iran's air defenses.

Russian defense industry officials have repeatedly said that Russia is interested in fulfilling the contract, which is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but the future of the contract would largely depend on the current situation in international affairs and the Kremlin's position.

The advanced version of the S-300 missile system, called S-300PMU1 (SA-20 Gargoyle), has a range of over 150 kilometers (over 100 miles) and can intercept ballistic missiles and aircraft at low and high altitudes, making the system an effective tool for warding off possible air strikes.

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