Iran says the construction of a missile defense system similar to the sophisticated Russian S-300 anti-aircraft system is still on the country’s agenda.
Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi told reporters on Wednesday that Iran still plans to construct the system.
His remarks come after Moscow decided to suspend a much-delayed deal to deliver the system to Iran.
“A decision has been taken not to supply the S-300 to Iran, they undoubtedly fall under sanctions,” chief of the Russian General Staff, Gen. Nikolai Makarov said on Wednesday.
“The authorities decided to suspend the process of supplies,” ITAR-TASS News Agency quoted Makarov as saying.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday signed a decree banning delivery of S-300 missiles to Iran.
Under a contract signed in 2005, Russia was required to provide Iran with at least five S-300 air-defense systems. However, Moscow’s continuous delays in delivering the defense system drew criticism from Tehran on several occasions.
Following the adoption of Resolution 1929 by UN Security Council (UNSC) against Iran, Russian authorities began making conflicting statements about how the new sanctions would affect the contract.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in June that Moscow would “freeze the delivery of the S-300 missiles” to Iran as it runs counter to the new round of UN Security Council sanctions on the country.
Putin’s remarks came as Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had earlier said UN sanctions would not affect the S-300 contract with Iran, as these missiles are “defensive weapons” and do not fall under the terms of the sanctions.
Iran has been trying to obtain the sophisticated defense system to improve its deterrence power in reaction to Israeli war rhetoric.
Experts believe the S-300 missile defense system can shield Iranian nuclear sites from any Israeli airstrike.