Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic insists on taking delivery of the Russian-made S-300 missile defense systems under a deal cut between the two countries.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Tehran on Wednesday, Zarif said Tehran is adamant that the Russian side fulfill its obligations to supply S-300 missile systems.
On the replacement of S-300 systems with S-300VM Antey-2500 anti-ballistic missile systems, he said Iranian and Russian defense officials have held several rounds of negotiations, and talks about the issue are still going on.
Russia is offering Iran S-300VM Antey-2500 missile defense systems in an attempt to dodge a $4-billion lawsuit from Tehran over its failure to deliver the S-300s.
A contract inked in 2007 requires Russia to provide Iran with at least five S-300 missile defense systems.
However, Moscow refrained from meeting its obligations under the pretext that they were covered by the fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran.
In September 2010, the then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree banning the delivery of the S-300 systems to the Islamic Republic.
Russia’s refusal to deliver the systems under the contract prompted Iran to file a complaint with the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva against the Russian arms firm Rosoboronexport.
On May 30, Russian Technologies (Rostech) CEO Sergei Chemezov said that Moscow sought to reach a settlement with Tehran to have Iran withdraw its lawsuit against Rosoboronexport over the deal, as Russia’s chances to win the case “are very slim.”
Chemezov said that the US had mounted great pressure on Moscow to stop the agreement under the pretext that the deal was a breach of the UN sanctions. The Russian official added, however, that Washington later changed its rhetoric, saying the UN resolution did not specifically mention the S-300 system and claiming that Russia had acted on its own.