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Dates for S-300 deliveries to Iran to be specified later - defense industry official

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, February 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has not yet decided on the date for the delivery of advanced S-300 air defense systems to Iran, a Russian defense industry official said on Wednesday.

"Talks are under way. It has yet to be decided when the deliveries will take place," director of the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation Mikhail Dmitriev 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, Moscow has not so far honored the contract, which many experts say is 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.

Matters came to a head last week after Iran announced it had developed its own air defense system comparable to and even more sophisticated than the Russian S-300 system.

Russian officials said earlier delivery delays were due to technical faults, adding that they were working to fix them.

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 airstrikes.

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