MOSCOW – Iran expects Russia to deliver the S-300 air defence missile system by the end of the year, the head of the Iranian security council said Tuesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday lifted a five-year ban on delivery of the missile system to Iran, drawing criticism from the United States and Israel. The S-300 would significantly bolster the Islamic republic’s military capability by providing a strong deterrent against any air attack.
Iran had responded to the Russian ban by filing a lawsuit with a court in Geneva seeking $4 billion in damages for breach of contract.
Ali Shamkhani, who heads Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said Tuesday in Moscow that the lawsuit will be withdrawn only after delivery of the S-300s, which he hoped would happen by the end of the year, Russian news agencies reported.
His Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, said delivery would take time. “It will depend on our manufacturers,” he told the Interfax news agency. “I believe they will need at least six months to complete this work.”
Patrushev was more cautious than Putin’s spokesman, who said Monday that the missile system could be shipped to Iran at any moment.
Russia signed the $800 million contract to sell Iran the S-300 missile system in 2007, but suspended delivery three years later because of strong objections from the United States and Israel.
The preliminary agreement on settling the Iranian nuclear standoff struck earlier this month made the ban unnecessary, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a televised statement.
The framework agreement reached by Iran and six world powers is intended to significantly restrict its ability to produce nuclear weapons while giving it relief from international sanctions. The agreement is supposed to be finalized by June 30. There is no firm agreement yet on how or when to lift the international sanctions on Iran.