Reuters: Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday blamed U.S. and Israeli pressure on Russia for Moscow's delay in delivering an advanced missile defense system to the Islamic Republic, a semi-official news agency reported. TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday blamed U.S. and Israeli pressure on Russia for Moscow's delay in delivering an advanced missile defense system to the Islamic Republic, a semi-official news agency reported.
Iranian officials have voiced growing irritation at Russia's failure so far to supply the S-300 missile system, which Israel and the United States do not want Tehran to have.
Moscow, which is under Western pressure to distance itself from Iran over a long-running dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, has not followed through on proposals to ship the missiles to Iran.
"The reason for the delay in the delivery of the S-300 missile defense system is the Americans' and Israelis' pressures on Russia … while the Russians have no problem in this regard," said Guards commander-in-chief Mohammad Ali Jafari, quoted by Mehr News Agency.
He spoke a day after another senior military official, Brigadier General Mohammad Hassan Mansourian, said Iran could take legal action if Russia refused to fulfil its "commitments" to deliver the system to the Islamic state.
Mansourian is deputy head of Iran's air defences.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Russia last month for not providing the S-300 to Iran. Like Israel, Washington has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the row over Iran's nuclear program.
The West suspects Iran is seeking to build nuclear bombs. Tehran says it only seeks to generate electricity.
The truck-mounted S-300PMU1, known in the West as the SA-20, can shoot down cruise missiles and aircraft. It can fire at targets up to 150 km (90 miles) away.
Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the U.N. Security council, has backed three sets of mild sanctions on Iran since 2006 over its nuclear work. But it has so far blocked any strong measures against its traditional ally.
(Reporting by Reza Derakhshi; writing by Fredrik Dahl; editing by Giles Elgood)