Sputnik News– Elite Iranian military and Islamic Revolutionary Guard units took part in a large scale military exercise in the southwestern region of the country, employing S-300 surface-to-air missile systems recently purchased from Russia.
General Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Khatam al Anbiya air defense base, told Sputnik Persian that over 17,000 servicemen took part in Sky Defenders 7 (Modafe’in-e Asman 7) military exercise held in a 496,000 square kilometers area along Iran’s Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman coast.
General Esmaili also added that the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems recently purchased from Russia were deployed during the exercise. Iranian political analyst and security expert Abouzar Bagheri pointed out that the contract to supply S-300 air defense systems to Iran was signed between Tehran and Moscow many years ago; and now that it has finally been fulfilled, Iran was able to fill a vacuum in its air defenses.
“In recent years, with all the turmoil in the Middle East, Iran has proven time and again that it does not pursue a policy of aggression and military expansion. The country requires weapons only in order to defend its borders, not for invading other nations. Therefore, Iran employs the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems purely to bolster its air defense capabilities and to preserve the nation’s aerial borders,” he explained.
Bagheri also added that S-300 anti-air systems will now be routinely employed during military exercises conducted by the Iranian army and will be displayed at military parades. “The S-300 surface-to-air missile systems now adopted by the Iranian military will soon be deployed again during military exercises and parades. It will be done on a regular basis as S-300 systems are now an important part of Iran’s military defenses.
Just like General Farzad Esmaili said, the Sky Defenders 7 drills is but a first test for these weapon systems; during further military exercises the S-300 will be tested to their full capability,” he said. Earlier in December Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei announced that Russia has successfully fulfilled the contract to deliver S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran, and that the new weapons were transferred to the Khatam al Anbiya air defense base.