Tehran, 18 Apr – Iran has displayed parts of a new Russian-made missile system during its annual Army Day celebrations. State-run news agency ISNA showed S-300 missile tubes and radar equipment as part of a military parade through southern Tehran.
The S-300 missile system is being purchased by Iran from Russia at a cost of $800m (£545m). The missiles can be used against multiple targets – such as jets or other missiles. The fully mobile units are capable of tracking objects over a range of 185 miles. Sophisticated radar and relays allow the S-300 system to guide up to 12 missiles simultaneously and engage six different targets at once. Five of these systems have reportedly been sent to the Iranian government.
Russia has also delivered the S-300 to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, with whom Iran are allies, fighting in the five-year-long civil war there.
The United States has criticised the sale; which was agreed in 2007 but frozen by Russia in 2010 as part of international sanctions against Iran. Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted the ban in 2015.
American President Barack Obama sought to downplay the significance of the deal at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who has just returned from an economic-infused trip to Tehran.
“I’m frankly surprised that it [the ban on S-300 deliveries to Iran] held this long, given that they were not prohibited by [UN Security Council] sanctions from selling these defensive weapons”, Obama said, according to Russia Today.
Despite the lifting of international nuclear-related sanctions and the purchase of the Russian missiles, Iran’s economy continues to struggle.