Russia denies the sale of S-300 antiaircraft complexes to Iran.

The Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation denounced reports on deliveries of S-300 antiaircraft complexes to Iran. The media had quoted a senior Iranian official a short while ago as saying that Tehran expected some S-300s from Russia that would considerably boost its defense potential. It is known that the United States and Israel object to this move, upset as they are by the prospect of seeing parity in the Middle East region disrupted.

“The reports on the sale of S-300 complexes to Iran have nothing to do with the actual state of affairs,” the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation stated. Emphasis in its official statement was made on the respect Russia had for previous agreements and international commitments, military-technical cooperation with Iran was said to be proceeding within this framework precisely.

Last Sunday, IRNA news agency (Iran) quoted deputy chairman of the parliamentary commission for national security and foreign policy Ismail Kosari as saying that Tehran was expecting S-300s from Russia in the near future.

According to Kosari, several years of talks with Russia finally resulted in the S-300 deal. “These systems will be used to boost defense potential and defend the borders,” the parliamentarian said.

(Russia did sell some TOR-M1 antiaircraft complexes to Iran in 2006-2007, systems primarily used against guided missiles and high-precision weaponry. Responding to criticism from Washington then, Russia flatly said that Iran had the right to advance defense of its vital state and military sites as well as objects of infrastructure.)

The Jerusalem Post could not immediately confirm the veracity of the report but said that the Israelis all but ruled out this possibility. Press Secretary of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Igal Palmer made a reference to assurances from high-ranking Russian officials that reports in the Iranian media were “groundless” and that Moscow intended to abide by the agreement to abstain from selling to the region the weapons capable of disrupting strategic parity in the Middle East (said agreement made at the talks with Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert in Moscow in October).

Approached for comments, Professor Zaki Shalom of the Ben-Gurion University in the Negev admitted he did not expect that S-300s at Tehran’s disposal would alter the strategic arrangement of forces in the region. “If the political decision (to strike at Iran – Nezavisimaya Gazeta) is made, I do not think that even S-300s will stop the Israelis,” Professor Shalom said. “Besides, conflict with Syria is proof that Israel possesses some efficient means of dealing with antiaircraft defense, ones capable of detecting and neutralizing it. In a word, not even S-300s wielded by the Iranians are likely to damage the Israeli Air Force.”

Shalom added that the matter of S-300 export to Iran was truly global in implications and therefore exceeded the framework of the Russian-Iranian bilateral relations alone. “I’d say that the matter rather concerns the discord between Russia and the United States over Washington’s plans to install elements of the ballistic missile defense system in Europe. The Russians will never cooperate with the Americans in the matter of Iran as long as this particular problem remains unsolved,” the expert said.