Iran says S-300 system is operational

Iran says advanced S-300 defense system, which was bought from Russia, has been tested and is operational.

Contact Editor
Elad Benari,

S-300
S-300
Reuters

Iranian state television reported on Saturday that the advanced S-300 air defense system, which the Islamic Republic bought from Russia, is now operational.

"The S-300 air defense system has been tested ... in the presence of government and military officials," the Iranian report said, according to the AFP news agency.

It added that the test at a desert base had seen several targets, including a ballistic missile and a drone, intercepted.

Air defense commander General Farzad Esmaili told the television that a domestically manufactured air defense system dubbed Bavar 373 which was "more advanced than the S-300" would be tested very soon.

"The S-300 is a system that is deadly for our enemies and which makes our skies more secure," he claimed.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree in 2015 lifting a ban on the delivery of the S-300 to Iran, explaining that his decision was motivated by Iran's drive to find a solution in talks over its nuclear program.

Despite the lifting of the ban, the sale had been repeatedly delayed due to Western pressure given that UN nuclear sanctions ban the delivery to Iran. Russia delivered the missiles last year.

Last August, state television aired footage of the system being installed around the Fordo nuclear site in a mountain near Qom, south of the capital.

Iran's activation of the defense system comes amid mounting tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump, who imposed sanctions after Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile in January.

Iran has responded angrily to the sanctions, with the country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, dismissing calls from the Trump administration to cease the country’s ballistic missile tests.

In addition, Iranian officials have warned the United States against attacking Iran, with one senior official recently threatening his country would attack Tel Aviv if the United States "makes a mistake".