The delivery of the S-300 air defense missiles to Iran is being delayed due to technical problems, a senior Russian defense official was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying Wednesday.
"The delay is taking place because of technical problems. The delivery will take place when they have been resolved," said Alexander Fomin, deputy head of the Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service.
In 2007 Russia signed a deal to supply Iran with the missiles, but until now has not offered an explanation as to why they have not been delivered. Analysts have estimated that the delay is related to pressure exerted by the US andIsrael, as the S-300 system could help Tehran defend its nuclear installations in case of an attack.
On Sunday, just hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left for Moscow, Security Council Deputy Secretary Vladimir Nazarov told Interfax, "There is the signed contract that we must fulfill, but supplies have not started yet. This deal is not restricted by any international sanctions, because these are merely defensive weapons."
About two weeks ago Iran's ambassador to Russia said Moscow has guaranteed that it will deliver the S-300 missile defense system to Iran.
"Iran is ready to receive this system and our Russian colleagues have assured us that they will meet their obligations," Ambassador Seyyed Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi said, adding that "several technical issues (in the contract's implementation) have emerged, and we hope they will be resolved soon."