Iran has received the first batch of missiles for the S-300 missile defense system, the Iranian Tasnim news agency reported on Monday.
The news agency said the missiles indicate that Moscow is supplying Tehran with the advanced S-300 PMU2 system rather than the PMU1, information it said has been kept under wraps.
Russia began delivery of the S-300 missile defense system to Iran in April, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.
The sale of the S-300 system has been reported by both Russia and Iran as imminent since the signing of the nuclear deal last year.
In April, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jaberi Ansari told local media that the delivery of the system had already begun.
“We had already announced that despite several changes in time of delivery, the deal is on its path of implementation. Today I should announce that the first part of these equipment has arrived in Iran and delivery of other parts will continue,” Ansari said, according to the Mehr news agency.
— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) April 10, 2016
The Russian-made missile defense system is one of the most advanced of its kind in the world, offering long-range protection against both airplanes and missiles.
In 2010 Russia froze a deal to supply the system to Iran, linking the decision to UN sanctions instituted because of Tehran’s nuclear program. Putin lifted the suspension in July 2015, following Iran’s deal with six world powers that curbed its nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions.
Israel has long sought to block the sale to Iran of the S-300 system, which analysts say could impede a potential Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities. Other officials have expressed concern that the systems could reach Syria and Hezbollah, diluting Israel’s regional air supremacy.
The Israeli Air Force has trained for a scenario in which it would have to carry out strikes in Syria or Iran on facilities defended by the Russian-made S-300 air defense system.
In an interview late last year, IAF commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel said the S-300 was a “significant but not insurmountable challenge” for the IAF.
Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.
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