THE S-300 MISSILE launching system.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Russia and Iran have signed a contract for Moscow to supply Tehran with S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, Sergei Chemezov, the chief executive of Russian state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec, was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying on Monday.
"S-300, the air defense system, the contract has already been signed," Chemezov was quoted as saying at the Dubai Airshow.
A nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers earlier this deal has put Israel and Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchies on edge: They fear Tehran's rapprochement with the West will allow it to pursue an expansionist agenda in the region.
Chemezov said Gulf countries had no reason to feel threatened by the deal.
"This is defence equipment. And we are ready to offer this defense equipment to any country," Chemezov later told Reuters in Dubai, speaking through interpreters.
"So if the Gulf countries are not going to attack Iran ... why should they be threatened? Because this is defense equipment."
He said that Saudi Arabia, arch-rival of Iran, had approached his firm "several times" requesting that it not deliver the equipment.
"Five years ago ... even now, up to now ... And we said that the S-300 is not capable to attack ... to reach the neighboring countries."
Earlier this month it was reported that Russian state-owned arms company Rosoboronexport said
it was preparing a contract to supply Iran with the missile systems. The technology will significantly upgrade Iran’s anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic missile capabilities.
Russia and its state media have made numerous statements regarding the sale or delay of the delivery of the S-300 system over the years. The often contradicting reports appear to be a propaganda operation that changes according to the country’s political interests.
Russian state arms producer Almaz-Antey in June said it would supply Iran with a modernized version of the S-300, among the world’s most capable air defense systems, once a commercial agreement was reached.
In 2010, under Western pressure, Russia suspended a 2007 agreement to sell five S-300 batteries to Iran under a contract then reported to be worth some $800 million.