Russia must ignore Israeli pressure: Iran

Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Wednesday Russia must ignore pressure from Iran’s arch-foe Israel and supply the Islamic republic with the advanced anti-aircraft missiles it has ordered.

Vahidi urged Moscow to meet its contractual obligation towards Tehran and deliver the weapons.

“We have a contract with Russia to buy S-300 missiles. I don’t think it is right for Russia to be seen in the world as a country which does not fulfil its contractual obligations,” Vahidi told the ILNA news agency.

“Russia has to fulfil the contract and not be influenced by Zionist pressure,” he added, referring to the Jewish state.

Last month Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that Iran had not yet paid for the advanced anti-aircraft missiles.

It said no payments have been made because Moscow has not given its final approval for the sale of S-300 missiles to Iran, a deal that set alarm bells ringing in the West.

Under the contract, Russia would sell Iran five batteries of S-300PMU1 missiles for around 800 million dollars (530 million euros), Interfax reported.

The S-300PMU1 – codenamed the SA-20 Gargoyle by NATO – is a mobile land-based system designed to shoot down aircraft and cruise missiles.

Western governments fear that Iran could use the system to boost defences around its atomic sites against a possible US or Israeli air strike aimed at preventing Tehran from pursuing what they suspect is a nuclear weapons project.

Iran denies that its nuclear ambitions extend to manufacturing the bomb, and says the programme is purely peaceful and aimed at generating power for an increasing population.

Moscow has never officially confirmed signing a missiles contract with Iran, but has repeatedly insisted it has the right to sell it “defensive” weapons systems.