Iran is set to test-fire a domestically-designed air defense system similar to the Russian S-300 after Russia refused to fulfill a delivery contract, the IRNA news agency said on Wednesday.
Russia signed a deal to deliver five battalions of S-300PMU-1 air defense systems to Iran in 2007 but banned the sale in September, saying the systems, along with a number of other weapons, were covered by the fourth round of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council against Iran over its nuclear program in June.
"We had plans to purchase the S-300 from Russia as part of our agenda to meet some of our security needs, but under pressure from the United States and Israel, [Russia] refrained from delivering the defense system to our country," Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hassan Mansourian said.
"[Missile defense] systems similar to S-300 will soon undergo test firing and field modification while other long-range systems are also being designed and developed," Mansourian said.
The general also said Iran's air defenses would soon be strengthened with a new generation of Mersad and Shahin missiles.
The advanced version of the S-300 missile system, called S-300PMU1, has a range of over 150 kilometers (over 100 miles) and can intercept ballistic missiles and aircraft at low and high altitudes, making it an effective tool for warding off possible air strikes.
Russia has delivered 29 Tor-M1 short-range air defense missile systems to Iran under a $700-million contract signed in late 2005. Russia has also trained Iranian Tor-M1 specialists, including radar operators and crew commanders. The S-300 system is significantly superior to the Tor-M1.
MOSCOW, November 10 (RIA Novosti)