• Will Iran Sign Contract To Buy S-300 Missile Systems From Russia?

    Iran will sign an agreement with Russia next week to receive four S-300 surface-to-air battalions in open defiance of Israel and the United States.

    The announcement by Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan came shortly after his visit to Moscow to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which was prompted by a discussion between President Vladimir Putin and the Iranian President Hassan Rohani in July at the BRICS summit, Reuters reports.

    Putin and Rohani agreed to enhanced military cooperation, and the recent S-300 deal appears to be the latest manifestation of that promise.

    Putin lifted the ban on S-300 missile shipments to Iran in April, ending a five-year period of cooperation with the United Nations. In June, arms manufacturer Almaz-Antey announced that it would provide Iran with a more modern version of the S-300 once a contract was signed.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not Russia’s decision to lift the ban terribly well, though Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey stated that the S-300 will not present a serious block to U.S. military capabilities, should the need ever arise. (RELATED: Russian S-300 Missile Defense System Would Complicate An Israeli Air Strike)

    Secretary of State John Kerry made his concerns known to Lavrov regarding Russia’s prospective sale of S-300s to Iran. Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswomanstated that “We don’t believe it’s constructive at this time for Russia to move forward with this.”

    Russia appears to have totally ignored Kerry.

    As far as Israel is concerned, four S-300 systems would severely hamper Israel’s unilateral strike option, though not entirely eliminating it.

    In April, a former Israeli Air Force official described the S-300 to The Jerusalem Post as “one of the most advanced air defense systems in the world,” further adding that, “This system will be a challenge for an air force to overcome. Its arrival is a significant change in our region.”

    Dehghan is still in talks with Lavrov about the possibility of purchasing Russian-made fighter jets. A hostile relationship between Iran and the United States means that the Iranian Air Force has had a difficult time performing maintenance and upgrading its largely U.S.-made fleet.

    It’s unclear how many missile launchers are in each battalion, but at minimum, each battalion will be able to deploy in a separate location.

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