A day after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu returned from a two-day trip to Moscow, the Russian Interfax news agency on Wednesday quoted a top Russian defense official as saying that S-300 air defense missiles will be delivered to Iran once unspecified technical problems are resolved.
According to Interfax, Alexander Fomin, deputy head of the Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service, said that the delay in the delivery of the weapons system is “taking place because of technical problems. The delivery will take place when they have been resolved.”
Russia and Iran reached agreement on the contract in 2007, but Moscow has still not delivered the anti-aircraft missiles which would significantly boost Iran’s ability to protect its nuclear installations.
On the eve of Netanyahu’s visit, the deputy head of Russia’s National Security Council, Vladimir Nazarov, was quoted as saying the weapons systems would be delivered.
Netanyahu asked at a press conference specifically about whether he received assurances that Moscow would not deliver the weapons systems, said “I trust what I heard from the president of Russia. I trust him because I know that in this issue Russia is guided by concerns about regional stability.”
Israel has said in the past that the sale of S-300s to Iran would tip the strategic balance in the region.
Though asked again about the issue a couple of other times during his
visit, Netanyahu stuck to that formulaic reply, and would not provide
any more details.AP contributed to this report.