Russia has decided to freeze its shipment of S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported on Saturday.
The paper quotes a highly reliable source as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to suspend delivery of the advanced aerial defense system because Iran failed to lived up to its promise not deliver advanced weaponry to the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah.
The source, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Kuwaiti paper that Putin based his decision on information he received from Israel, proving that the Iranians had transferred the advanced Russian-made SA-22 surface-to-air missile system to Hezbollah more than once.
The Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system (Photo: AP)
According to the report, Russian pilots flying missions over Syria and Lebanon have frequently mentioned that their radar systems detected advanced surface-to-air missile systems in Hezbollah-controlled regions on the Lebanese-Syrian border.
Russia signed an $800 million contract to sell Iran the S-300 missile system in 2007, but in 2010 suspended their delivery because of strong objections from the United States and Israel.
Moscow insisted that its decision in 2010 to freeze the S-300 delivery was based on sanctions the United Nations' Security Council imposed on Iran over its nuclear program.
On January 16, 2016, the US, UN and EU announced they were lifting sanctions against Iran, following the UN atomic watchdog's announcement that Tehran had put in place all curbs on its atomic activities as required by its landmark deal with major world powers, leading Russia to announce that it will now deliver the S-300 system to the Islamic Republic.
In reacton to Russia's announcement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office "expressed Israel's dismay at the decision... (and) told President Putin that this step will only increase Iran's aggression in the region and will destabilize security in the Middle East."
In response, "Vladimir Putin explained the rationale for the decision in the current context and highlighted the fact that due to their tactical and technical characteristics, S-300 have a purely defensive significance and pose no threat to Israel," the Kremlin said in a statement.
The Iranians have purchased four units of the anti-aircraft S-300 system, which were removed from service in the Russian military, and have already received all of the supporting systems at the end of 2015, including the radar system.