Fars News Agency – May 8, 2011
Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi announced on Sunday that Iran plans to produce long-range anti-aircraft missile systems, but meantime dismissed the speculations that Tehran is working on plans to develop an Iranian version of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile shield.
Speaking to reporters here in Tehran today, Vahidi announced that Tehran has no plan to produce S-300 or S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, but at the same time stressed Iran’s resolve to produce other indigenous long-range air defense systems.
“Manufacturing long-range missiles is on our agenda and we have taken some steps on this path,” Vahidi said.
Yet, the Iranian minister reiterated that Iran’s military capabilities are not aggressive in nature and are merely aimed at defending the country’s interests.
Last September, former Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General Ahmad Miqani told FNA that country had taken wide strides in developing long-range air defense systems and would soon start production of such missile shields.
Miqani underlined Iran’s capabilities and potentials in developing and producing all types of military tools, weapons and equipment, and reiterated that Tehran would no more wait for the delivery of military products from abroad.
His remarks alluded to a contract on the delivery of Russia’s sophisticated anti-aircraft S-300 missile system to Iran.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a decree in September prohibiting the sale of S-300 missile systems to Iran, citing restrictions under sanctions the UN Security Council imposed on Tehran in June over its nuclear activities.
Iran dismissed Russia’s justification that the ban on the delivery of the S-300 missile system to Iran was in line with the (US-engineered) UN Security Council Resolution 1929, and stated that this is an air defense system which is not included in Resolution 1929.
Meantime, an Iranian top military commander had announced several months ago that Tehran is able to replace the Russian-made anti-aircraft S-300 missiles with other air defense systems.
“If they do not deliver S-300 defensive system to us, we have replacements and we can supply our operational requirements through innovative techniques and different designs,” Deputy Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base for Coordination General Hassan Mansourian said in November 2009.
Codenamed ‘the SA-20 Gargoyle’ by NATO, the S-300 system is a mobile land-based system designed to detect and shoot down aircraft within a 120 km (75 miles) distance.
The advanced version of the S-300 missile system, called S-300PMU1 (SA-20 Gargoyle), has a range of over 150 kilometers (over 100 miles) and can intercept ballistic missiles and aircraft at low and high altitudes, making the system an effective tool for warding off possible air strikes.