Moscow: Russia is not negotiating deliveries of the S-300 long-range air defence systems to Iran despite reports in the media, according to a statement posted on its web site by the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.
The statement was alluding to media reports, which had earlier cited Iranian defence minister, Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, as saying that Iran and Russia had agreed to deliver an unspecified number of advanced S-300 air defence complexes to the Islamic Republic of Iran under a previously signed contract.
"The issue of the delivery of S-300 air defence missile systems to Iran, raised by the media, is not a subject of current negotiations and has not been discussed with the Iranians," the agency's statement said.
"Russia and Iran are continuing to develop cooperation in the military-technical sphere in full accordance with international arms export regulations and obligations," the statement said.
The advanced version of the S-300 missile system, called S-300PMU1 (SA-20 Gargoyle), has a range of over 150 kilometres (about 100 miles) and can intercept ballistic missiles and aircraft at low and high altitudes. Its range would seriously impair all offensive scenarios against Iran, as they are all dependent on air-launched surgical strikes launched by US, Israel and European nations.
US authorities have repeatedly called on Russia to stop arms deliveries to countries whose political regimes Washington disapproves of, including Iran. Russian president Vladimir Putin had said in October that Russia would not take into consideration attempts to impose arms deal restrictions "based on unilateral and politicised assessments."
So far, Moscow has supplied Iran with 29 Tor-M1 ((Nato codename SA-15 Gauntlet) air defence missile systems at the beginning of the year under a $700-million contract signed in late 2005. Russia has also trained Iranian Tor-M1 specialists, including radar operators and crew commanders.