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S-300 Iran delivery to be completed in a month: Defense chief

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier-General Hossein Dehqan addressing a news conference in Tehran, August 20, 2016.

Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan says Iran will fully receive the remaining consignment of the Russian S-300 missile defense system in a month.

"We have completely taken delivery of the S-300 missile system. The main part of the system has been transferred to Iran, and the remaining part is being loaded for transfer which will be completed in a month,” he told reporters on Saturday.

Dehqan said the country will decide on where to station the system in accordance with threats posed against the country’s “sensitive points.”

Russia undertook to deliver the systems — which are used to intercept tactical and ballistic aircraft and projectiles — to Iran under a $800-million deal in 2007 but refused to deliver on the commitment, citing UN sanctions against Iran.

Following Moscow’s refusal to deliver the systems, Iran filed a complaint against the relevant Russian arms manufacturer with the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva. In April 2015, President Vladimir Putin lifted the Russian self-imposed ban on the delivery of the S-300 and Moscow subsequently signed a new contract to supply Iran with the systems by the end of that year. Tehran recently dropped the case at the arbitration court.

The Iranian defense chief further said the country had refused a Russian proposal for the procurement of the Russian S-400 air defense system.

Russo-Iranian defense coop.

Over the past three years, the Iranian defense minister has held five meetings with his Russian opposite number, Sergei Shoigu.

Addressing bilateral defense cooperation, Dehqan said the collaboration was aimed at “fighting instability and insecurity, the establishment of peace and security, and the eradication of terrorism in the region.”

“We will keep up the cooperation until the attainment of the intended goals,” Dehqan said in his Saturday remarks.

The Iranian defense minister also referred to Russian aircraft’s current use of the Nojeh airbase near the western Iranian city of Hamedan, which Moscow started recently for logistical purposes aimed at enhancing its operations over Syria.

The aircraft use the base for stopover, meaning that they are not “deployed” at the outpost, Dehqan said, adding that the airbase is being used to help Russian warplanes target terrorist gatherings and equipment at Syria’s request.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he said that Iran’s and Russia’s definition of the terrorists operating in Syria differs from that of the West. “The West is of the opinion that only Daesh should be confronted in Syria as a terror group, but we believe that all those groups that operate to cause instability in the [Arab] country are terrorist and should be confronted.”

Dehqan also said that Iran planned to sign cooperation agreements with Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and China, whose defense minister would be visiting Tehran in the coming month.

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