Daily Israel Report

Tehran Suing Moscow Over S-300 Contracts

Iran is suing Russia for failing to deliver the S-300 air defense system - a key item Tehran wanted to safeguard its nuclear sites.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 8/25/2011, 7:30 PM

Iran announced Thursday it is suing Moscow for failing to deliver the S-300 air defense system to Iran, the semi-official Iranian Fars news agency reported.

Iranian ambassador to Russia Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi told reporters the lawsuit had been filed with the International Court of Justice. The Islamic Republic contracted with Russia in 2007 for the delivery of "at least five" S-300 air defense systems, according to the report.
The International Court of Justice, also knows as the World Court, is the judicial branch of the United Nations organization. It operates out of The Hague, Netherlands, where it is responsible for settling disputes between states who have 
In 2007, Russia and Iran claimed that UN Security Council Resolution 1929 did not apply to the S-300 system because it was not listed specifically in the text.  The resolution, passed on June 9, 2010, imposes sanctions on Iran for harboring a secret nuclear weapons program and failing to comply with requests by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect nuclear facilities. It prohibits economic and military cooperation with the Islamic Republic, thereby prohibiting the sale and delivery of the weapons system.
"The S-300 missile is not in contradiction with any international commitments of the two sides (Iran and Russia) and the issue is clearly emphasized in the deal, on the other hand the date of delivery of the missile system was two years before the adoption of the UN Security Council recent resolution against Iran," Iranian Minister of Defense Ahmad Vahidi told Azerbaijan's Trend News Agency in October 2010.
Although Russia originally assured Iran that it would deliver the system, considerable Western pressure eventually convinced Moscow to cancel the deal. The cancellation caused the Islamic Republic, who had touted its aquisition as a major deterrent to a strike by Western powers on its nuclear program, to lose face.
The lawsuit comes as tensions between Iran and Russia, whom Iran contracted to aid in constructing its nuclear facilities, have spiked due to delays in the completion of Tehran's Bushehr nuclear reactor. The reactor, which was to be completed in 1999, has yet to be complete.