Iran Says Russia Delivering S-300 Air Defense Systems

TEHRAN, Iran — Russia has begun delivering S-300 air defense systems to Iran that could help repel any Israeli and U.S. air strikes on its nuclear sites, the official IRNA news agency reported Sunday.

"After a few years of talks with Russia … now the S-300 system is being delivered to Iran," said Email Kosari, deputy head of the parliament's foreign affairs and national security committee, IRNA reported. Kosari did not say when the deliveries began.

Iran's Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report. Russia's Foreign Ministry also declined comment, saying it may react on Monday.

In October, Russia's Foreign Ministry denied media speculation that Moscow would sell the medium-range S-300 system, adding Moscow had no intention of selling weapons to "troubled regions."

But RIA-Novosti last week quoted "confidential sources" as saying that Russia was fulfilling an S-300 contract with Iran.

The most advanced version of the S-300 system can track targets and fire at aircraft 120 kilometers away.

Kosari said the S-300 system would be used "to reinforce Iran's capability to defend its borders."

"The delivery of this system is a display of good relations between Iran and Russia, which cannot be harmed by Israel," Kosari said.

Israeli Defense Ministry envoy Amos Gilad urged Russia on Friday not to sell weapons to Iran that could be used to attack the Jewish state.

"The deliveries of dangerous armaments to our enemies won't serve the interests of peace and, for instance, can help Iran wipe Israel off the face of earth," Gilad said, Interfax reported. "So we expect Russia to demonstrate responsibility on the issue."

Gilad, who was visiting Moscow, was responding to a question about deliveries of the S-300 to Iran.

Gilad also denied allegations that Russia and Israel had struck a secret deal under which Israel would abstain from selling weapons to Georgia and Russia wouldn't sell weapons to Iran, Interfax reported.

He added, however, that Israel would take Russia's interests into account. "And we expect a similar approach from Russia," he said.

Russia's top military officer said earlier in the week that Moscow was negotiating with Israel to buy a batch of spy drones in what would be its first ever purchase of military hardware from the Jewish state.