Iran’s Defense Ministry said the country will produce its own advanced anti-aircraft missile system similar to the S-300 which Russia decided not to supply in compliance with international sanctions.
“We have planned to build a long-range air defense missile system similar to S-300,” Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi was quoted as saying by the state-run Mehr news agency in a report published on its website late yesterday. “By God’s grace and with Iranian engineers’ efforts, we will reach self- sufficiency.”
Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in an interview Sept. 20 that the decision not to deliver S-300 missiles to Iran was “dictated by a complicated military and political situation in the region and support of the United Nations sanctions against Iran.”
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree yesterday banning the sale of weapons, including S-300 air defense systems, to Iran.
Iran is subject to four sets of United Nations sanctions over uranium enrichment activities as part of its nuclear program. Enriched uranium can fuel a nuclear reactor or form the core of a bomb.
Iran rejects allegations that it may seek to develop nuclear weapons, saying its program is needed to generate electricity.
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As we have already noted, it’s not a question of if Iran can build an air defence system comparable to Russia’s S-300 missile system but when.
Iran has recently shown itself quite capable in the design, development and manufacture of home-grown weapons systems, especially its missiles like the Sejil medium range ballistic missile and radar systems.
Whether these latter were indigenously developed or, more likely, based on Russian or Chinese systems is still uncertain. But the fact remains that Iran has shown some proficiency in developing its own weapons industry.
Moreover, in April this year a weapons system that Iran claimed was an S-300 appeared in a military parade in Teheran. It’s still unknown where this system was obtained but it’s quite possible that Iran has obtained two or more S-300 systems through a third party.
Assuming that the systems displayed were not mock S-300s – and we don’t think they were – then Iran at least has a template upon which to base its own version of the S-300.
So it’s not a question if Iran can build an air defence system comparable to the S-300 but when. It will undoubtedly take some time but Iran announced at the beginning of this year that it was already working on the development of such a system. So its development could be well underway.
The only question is whether Iran can develop and deploy the system before the U.S. and/or Israel decide to launch their air strikes.
How long will that be: six months, a year, 18 months? Right now it’s anyone’s guess but like they say, this could be a very close call.