(photo credit: Associated Press)
Israel reacted positively Tuesday to a Russian announcement that it will not deliver the S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system to Iran.
On Tuesday, Russia's Interfax news agency quoted a top military official as saying the United Nation’s latest Iran sanctions, which Moscow had backed, ruled out the delivery of missile systems.
Sanctions ban S-300 missiles
sanctions won't stop arms deal
Russia sold the missile systems to Iran in 2007, but has not yet delivered the weapons, even though Iranian military officers are reportedly already being trained on the systems at a base near Moscow.
Russian Military official Alexander Fomin on Tuesday did not directly identify the S-300s, but pledged Moscow would desist from supplying "large missile systems" in accordance with the sanctions, Interfax reported.
During a visit to Jerusalem about three weeks ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the a presidential decree on what weapons will and will not be sold was under formulation following the United Nations Security Council resolution in June to impose additional sanctions on Iran.
One of the most advanced multi-target anti-aircraft-missile systems in the world, the S-300 has a reported ability to track up to 100 targets simultaneously while engaging up to 12 at the same time.
In Israel, there are two schools of thought with regard to the severity
of the S-300 threat. On the one hand, there are those like IAF commander
Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan who argue that all means to need to be used to
prevent the system from reaching Iran due to the impact it would have on
Israel’s operational freedom.
Other officials are less concerned by the system and claim that if and
when the S-300 is delivered to Iran, Israel will be able to develop an
electronic warfare (EW) system to neutralize it. An example of this
capability was demonstrated during Israel’s 2007 bombing of the Syrian
reactor. Then, the IAF reportedly used EW systems to penetrate Syrian
air defenses, believed by some to have been the most dense and
comprehensive in the region.