High Russian official: Moscow is gradually fulfilling S-300 air defense contract with Iran

Three times this month, Moscow has offered different versions about the delivery of five sophisticated Russian S-300 anti-missile, anti-air missile systems sold to Iran for $800 million.
Wednesday, March 18, an unnamed official of Russia’s Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation again hedged around the issue. He said a contract had been signed “two years ago” and was being “fulfilled gradually.”
According to Western intelligence sources, Moscow is maneuvering its position for four reasons:
1. Fluctuating levels of tension ahead of the first summit between the Russian and American presidents in London on April 2.
2. Moscow has learned that US and Israeli intelligence have proof that the Russians started supplying Iran with parts of the S-300 systems at the end of January and during February despite its promise to Washington to freeze delivery.
3. Dmitry Medvedev is reluctant to have Barack Obama confront him in London with this information and then asking how, in the light of this breach, Washington can trust Moscow to honor their agreements on security issues, including a possible deal on the US missile shield project in Europe.
4. The Kremlin is itself divided on whether to make good on the Russian-Iranian S-300 missile contract.
The high-ranking Russian official’s message Wednesday had four conflicting parts:
“Russia has not delivered the S-300 air defense systems in a deal cut with the Islamic Republic two years ago” – is one.
“Meanwhile the contract is being fulfilled gradually” – is another.
“Further fulfillment of the contract will mainly depend on the current international situation and the decision of the country’s leadership” – is the third.
And “Russia has no intention of giving up the estimated hundred million-US dollar contract.”
Western and Israeli experts stress that the installation of S-300 systems at Iran’s nuclear sites would make an air or missile attack difficult if not impossible.
The advanced version of this ground-to-air weapon can intercept missiles and aircraft from more than 120 kilometers away, target 12 targets simultaneously and is armed with an anti-jamming capability.

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