Sophisticated Russian S-400 missiles for Iran under new military pact, S-300s for Egypt, Syria, Hizballah

The cash-strapped Russians have become less choosy these days about clients for their prized S-300 defensive systems and even more advanced S-400 missiles. They are now ready to sell the former – not just to Iran, but also to Egypt, Syria and the Lebanese Shiite Hizballah.

Iran won this breakthrough with the signing of a new military cooperation pact in Tehran Tuesday, Jan. 20, between Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Iranian counterpart Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan.

“The two countries have decided to settle the S-300s problem,” the Iranian defense ministry said, while Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, a former ministry official, added: “A step was taken in the direction of cooperation on the economy and arms technology, at least for such defensive systems as the S-300 and S-400. Probably we will deliver them.”

Until now, the Russians were wary of burning all their bridges to the US administration and sidestepped outright confrontation with Washington by keeping open controlled exit hatches, in case an opening for a fresh start presented itself.

With its cooperation pact of Jan. 20, Russia became the Iranian armed forces’ primary supplier of new and sophisticated weapons systems,up to and including S-400 missiles – in defiance of the arms embargo against the Islamic Republic and US policies at large.

The S-300 missile system, which is designed to intercept aircraft and missiles, including cruise missiles, was for years the emblem of the most advanced Russian weaponry, capable in Iranian hands of deterring Israel from attacking their nuclear program.

On the quiet, as recently as 2013, Russia let Iran and Syria have components of S-300 batteries as installments in advance of supplies of complete systems.  Last year, Moscow promised to consider future supplies to Hizballah in Lebanon as well.

Russia’s policy evidently envisages Israel’s partial encirclement by batteries of S-300 missile systems from the north and south and both S-300 and S-400 batteries from Iran to the east.

Full article: Sophisticated Russian S-400 missiles for Iran under new military pact, S-300s for Egypt, Syria, Hizballah (DEBKAfile)

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