A senior Iranian commander says the S-300 long-range missile defense system is to go operational in Iran by the end of the Iranian calendar year (March 2017).
Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, the commander of the Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base, said on Friday that the strategic defense system will be “monitoring the country’s skies alongside tens of other defense systems every minute.”
Back in May, Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan said the country’s air defense had been equipped with the Russian S-300.
Russia committed to delivering the systems — which are used to target tactical and ballistic aircraft and projectiles — to Iran under an USD 800-million deal in 2007 but refused to deliver on the commitment, citing UN sanctions against Iran.
Following Moscow’s refusal to deliver the systems, Iran filed a complaint against the relevant Russian arms manufacturer with the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva. In April 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted the Russian self-imposed ban on the delivery of the S-300 and Russia subsequently signed a new contract to supply Iran with the systems by the end of that year.
Esmaili said Moscow was to deliver the remaining consignments of the system to Iran as per contractual obligations.
Elsewhere in his remarks, he said, “The Zionist regime (Israel) has been claiming that it will invade our country, [something] which Leader [of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei] rightly responded to by saying ‘they will not [live to] see such a day.”
The Islamic Republic maintains that its military might poses no threat to other countries, stating that its defense doctrine is merely based on deterrence.