MOSCOW, Russia — Russia has offered Iran advanced surface-to-air missiles after scrapping a similar deal in 2010 because of UN sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program, the state defense company said Monday.
Any such a deal is likely to go down badly in Washington, as Western countries seek to keep up the pressure on Iran to agree a comprehensive deal on its nuclear activities.
Sergei Chemezov, head of the Rostec corporation which manages Russia’s defense industry, said Moscow has offered to supply Antey-2500 missiles, an upgraded version of the S-300 air defense system that figured in the previous contract.
“We have offered them the Antey-2500,” Chemezov was quoted as saying by RIA-Novosti news agency.
But he added: “The decision has not been made yet.”
Moscow signed a contract in 2007 to deliver S-300 missiles to Iran worth $800 million.
The deal was intensely criticised by the United States and Israel, and Moscow later dropped it as being in breach of UN sanctions.
A UN resolution adopted in 2010 bans the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of missiles or missiles systems.
Chemezov said the Antey-2500 is a more modern version of the S-300, which Russia no longer makes. The same surface-to-air missiles were reportedly delivered to Venezuela in 2013.
Now under Western sanctions itself over the conflict in Ukraine, Russia — a permanent member of the UN Security Council — has strengthened its alliance with Iran.
During a visit to Tehran by Russia’s defense minister last month, the two countries signed a military cooperation agreement touted as a joint response to US “interference”.