Russia plans to equip Iran with advanced antiaircraft defense systems amid
reports that Israel will soon acquire advanced smart bombs.
Russian S-300 missiles
Russian arms exporter Rosoboronexport has disclosed that despite US opposition,
Moscow intends to empower Iran by supplying the country additional air defense
Moscow has already delivered 29 Tor-M1 missile systems to Iran under a $700
million (£386 million) contract signed in 2005.
Reports, however, began to surface as early as 2005 on the possibility of
another deal - the delivery to Iran of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems that
can complicate any aerial strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.
"If Tehran obtained the S-300, it would be a game-changer in military thinking
for tackling Iran. That could be a catalyst for Israeli air attacks before it is
operational," said Dan Goure, a long-time Pentagon advisor, in late August.
"This is a system that scares every Western air force," he continued.
Israeli officials themselves have also commented on the issue, confirming that
the system, once acquired by Iran, would complicate a potential attack on the
'numerous, distant, and fortified' nuclear sites in the country.
Tel Aviv and its ally, the United States, have threatened to launch air strikes
against Iranian nuclear facilities under the pretext that Tehran, a signatory to
the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has plans to develop nuclear
This is while the UN nuclear watchdog in its latest report on Iran announced
that it could not find any 'components of a nuclear weapon' or 'related nuclear
physics studies' in Iran.
According to the September 15 report, Iran enriches uranium-235 to a level of
below 5 percent - a rate consistent with the construction of a nuclear power
plant. Nuclear arms production requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.
A GBU-39 bunker buster peneterating
News of the possible Tehran-Moscow S-300 deal came
just days after the Pentagon notified Congress of plans to sell 1,000 GBU-39
smart bombs to Israel.
The 'bunker-buster' bombs, the Guided Bomb Unit-39 (GBU-39), have been developed
to penetrate fortified facilities located deep underground - such as Iran's
Despite US and Israeli threats, however, Iran has declared that it will not halt
uranium enrichment and has begun intense defense preparations.
On Monday, dozens of Iranian fighter jets, surveillance planes, interceptor
aircraft and radar drones took to the skies in a joint three-day military
The maneuvers also involved testing a surveillance network equipped with
state-of-the-art systems for identifying enemy aircraft.
An Iranian anti-ship C802 missile is
fired from land
In mid-August, Iran's Air Force chief, Brigadier
General Ahmad Miqani, announced that the country had revamped its fighter jet
fleet to fly distances of 3,000 kilometers without refueling.
The upgrade allows Iranian aircraft to fly to Israel and back without needing to
Iranian military officials have also warned that Iran would not hesitate in
taking the necessary measures to protect its sovereignty - including the closure
of the Strait of Hormuz - in case the country comes under attack.
The strategically vital waterway, between Iran and Oman, connects the oil-rich
region to high seas. As much as 40 percent of the world's sea-transited crude
oil passes through the strait.
In further preparations, the IRGC has recently equipped its navy fleet with
high-tech weapons systems capable of targeting any vessel within a range of 300
km (185 miles) from its shores.
Should the S-300 system become operational in Iran, it would effectively rule
out Israeli air raids and seriously complicate any US aerial bombings, according
to George Friedman - the director of leading US private intelligence agency
"Back Georgia and Ukraine for NATO membership and you'll see the S-300 to Iran.
It is a very powerful bargaining chip and a major deterrent to US actions in the
region. Moscow is playing very strategically on America's obsession with Iran,"
he said in late August.