Putin Snubs Iran on Advanced Tungsten for Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile

The Iranians were looking forward to a grand ceremony marking their long-delayed receipt of the first Russian S-300 ground to air missiles. It was scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18 at the Russian naval base in Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea. The two defense ministers were to attend the occasion and watch a proud display of Russian and Iranian warships decked in festive colors.
Little did Tehran expect the occasion to be called off at the last moment in the most ignominious way.
Late Wednesday night, a senior Russian Defense Ministry official came out with this announcement:
"The beginning of deliveries of the first consignment of Favorit missile systems cannot take place since the Iranian side has not paid the price enshrined in the contract as of February 16," the official said.
"Therefore, the presence of the Iranian defense minister in Astrakhan at the mythical ceremony of dispatching the first Favorit systems to Tehran is out of the question."
The Iranians were doubly outraged by the release of this humiliating announcement while their defense minister Gen. Hossein Dehghan was still in Moscow, having arrived at the invitation of the Russian defense minister, Gen. Sergei Shoigu.
That visit, which began in an atmosphere of cordiality, ended in rancor and embarrassment because of an incident revealed here by DEBKA Weekly’s military and intelligence sources.
When Gen Dehghan called on President Vladimir Putin Tuesday, Feb. he presented a $14 billion shopping list for advanced Russian weapons. On that list was the sale to Iran of an advanced type of tungsten, newly developed by Russia for use in bullets and missiles.
The Iranian minister made no bones about Tehran’s planned use of the tungsten to upgrade its new “Emad” intermediate-range ballistic missile, which is nuclear-capable, has a range of 2,000 km and carries a payload of 1,000 kg. The missile’s advanced guidance system allows for hits within 500 meters of target.
Putin replied that, while he was willing to go a long way for the sake of Moscow’s good relations with Tehran, Russia could not be expected to sell its newest cutting-edge product into foreign hands, when it was designed specifically to give the Russian military the edge over its rivals.
The Iranian general blew a gasket over this refusal and stormed out of the Russian president’s Kremlin office in a high temper. Putin decided to teach Dehghan a lesson he wouldn’t forget in a hurry. He summarily dumped the festive handover of the S-300 missiles on the insulting pretext that Tehran had come up short on the payment.

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