Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said Sunday that Russia has agreed to begin delivering its advanced air defense system to Iran “by the end of the year.”
The Lebanese Al Mayadeen news outlet quoted Dehghan as confirming the delivery date of the Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missile system.
The report added that Tehran officials were in talks with Moscow regarding the acquisition of 30 Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jets.
Reports of the finalized deal come several months after Russia repealed its embargo on Iran, when both countries began to expand military ties the wake of a historic nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers last month.
The talks were held last week on the sidelines of the Moscow MAKS 2015 air show, and were attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian Vice President for Science and Technology Affairs Sorena Sattari, Iranian media reported.
Israel has long sought to block the sale to Iran of the S-300 system, which analysts say could impede a potential Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities. Other officials have expressed concern that the systems could reach Syria and Hezbollah, diluting Israel’s regional air supremacy.
The S-300 is capable of tracking multiple planes at once and some versions have an interception range of 200 kilometers, and is considered to be one of the most sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons in the world.
Russia initially agreed to sell the advanced system to Iran in 2007 but then balked, saying at the time it was complying with a United Nations arms embargo.
Shortly after the Lausanne outline for the nuclear deal between P5+1 powers and Iran was signed in April, Russia announced it was lifting the ban on selling the advanced missile defense system to Iran, despite US and Israeli objections.
Moscow believes the framework agreement permits the delivery of the missiles without waiting for removal of sanctions intended to deter Tehran from developing its nuclear program.
Jonathan Beck and Adiv Sterman contributed to this report.
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