Bad news for Ahmadinejad? Iran is not expected to receive an advanced Russian-made anti-aircraft system this year, the Pentagon said on Friday, an assessment at odds with a view expressed by Israeli officials earlier this week.
Experts say that if Tehran acquires and operates the S-300 missile batteries it would make any strike by Israel or the United States on Iran's nuclear facilities more difficult.
Israeli defense sources said on Wednesday that Iran was set to receive the system, also known in the West as the SA-20, by the end of the year.
'Highly unlikely'First delivery of the S-300 batteries was expected as soon as early September, one Israeli source said, though it could take six to 12 months for them to be deployed and operable.
But Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said: "We firmly believe, based upon our understanding of the situation, that the Iranians will not be receiving that Russian anti-aircraft system this year."
Morrell, who was responding to a query from Reuters, declined to elaborate on the reasons for the Pentagon's view.
His comments expanded on remarks by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said on July 9 that it was "highly unlikely that those air defense missiles would be in Iranian hands any time soon."