Minister says Iran is ready to receive S-300 system

Tehran, April 24, IRNA – Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan says Iran is ready to receive the S-300 system, hoping it will occur this year.

Speaking to Russia Today, Dehghan said the issue of the S-300 system is an old one between Russia and Iran as they had already signed a contract with Russia for the purchase of the system.

He said six years ago, the Russian president suspended the contract and naturally, they have been asking for the contract to be performed ever since.

‘At that time, we sent some experts to Russia. They were trained on both the technical and the practical aspects of this system and they returned to Iran. In addition, we prepared the proper structures for the system in Iran; in other words, we were ready to receive the system based on the contract that we had signed. Our position has always been to seek the performance of the contract. In the new administration of the President Rouhani, several meetings were held between the presidents of the two countries, where they discussed the performance of the contract.’

He said the issue of the contract had been raised at various negotiations and meetings between the presidents of the two countries.

He added that the Russian party announced that there were some limitations, indicating that the former president of Russia had suspended the contract and iin accordance with the Russian governments’ tradition, the current president usually refrains from cancelling orders given by his predecessor.

The minister said in the end, it was said that the current president has the same authorities as his predecessor, so he must have the power to do this.

Then, he added, Iran and Russia discussed ways in which both parties could execute the contract with Russian Defense Minister Shoigu on the sidelines of last year’s Security Conference. Finally, he noted, during Shoigu’s trip to Iran, Tehran and Moscow agreed with Shoigu that all of the preparations should be made before his trip to Russia for the current conference, so that they could execute the contract.

He said all of these arrangements were made, and two weeks ago, the esteemed president of Russia issued a statement indicating that Russia had agreed to deliver the system to Iran based on the contract we had previously concluded.

‘Now, whether the acceptance was subject to external factors and whether it was related to the P5+1 talks, that needs to be analyzed. From our point of view, it was because of the new conditions created in the relations between the two countries as well as the political determination of both sides to improve relations in all areas.’

Elsewhere in the interview, Dehghan said thank God, and thanks to the human, technical and industrial capacities Iran has, it does have the necessary defense systems to guarantee its aerospace security.

‘We have even designed and are now building a system similar to this one, and we expect to be able to test its production model by the end of the current Iranian year. ‘

He said as he had stressed to the Russian party repeatedly, what was, and still is, the most important thing is the fulfillment of the contract, once it has been signed.

‘Today, we consider the acceptance as Russia’s decision to fulfill its obligations to Iran under the S-300 Contract. The question of whether we need such systems to counteract Israel, or to guarantee our nuclear security, should be considered from the perspective that every country seeks to have access to various systems that it deems necessary to meet its defense and security needs. And likewise, in order to meet such needs, Iran doesn’t need to make arrangements with any authorities, nor does it need to ask anyone’s permission. Iran will make the decision on its own, and will implement it on its own.’

To a question on likely connection between implementation of the S-300 accord and Yemen, he said, ‘No, there is no connection between these two issues, because the decision about the performance of the contract was made long before the events taking place in the south of the Persian Gulf, namely the attack by Saudi Arabia and its allies on Yemen. Therefore, this is not related.’

In replay to another question, he said, ‘We don’t feel threatened by our neighbors, nor have we ever posed a threat to them. We do respect the political independence and territorial integrity of our neighboring countries and we believe that a powerful Iran will be a promoter of stability and security in the region. We consider our capabilities an asset for the Islamic world. So, if Israel and the United States try to depict Iran as a threat to the countries of the region, they are doomed to fail, because we have never, throughout our history, invaded any neighboring countries. On the contrary, we have strongly resisted any invasion of our own country. ‘

He advised Saudi Arabia and its allies that their military invasion will not have any positive outcomes for them. ‘Instead of using the assets of Islamic nations to wage war amongst themselves, it would be better to use such assets to counteract the main enemy of Islam, namely Israel.’