Iran unveils self-developed knockoff of S-300 missiles

Tehran’s version of Russian advanced anti-aircraft weaponry shown at military parade

Undated photo of a Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system on display in an undisclosed location in Russia (photo credit: AP, File)
Undated photo of a Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system on display in an undisclosed location in Russia (photo credit: AP, File)

The Iranian army displayed on Saturday a self-developed version of the advanced Russian S-300 missile system during a military parade south of the Tehran, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

Tehran decided to design its own version of the S-300 missile, the Bavar 373, following a postponement by Russia of the sale of the anti-aircraft weaponry to Iran five years ago. Earlier this week, Russia announced it would finally lift the ban and deliver S-300 systems to Iran, in a move that would give the Islamic Republic’s military a strong deterrent against any air attack.

On Wednesday, Iranian Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan stated that the Bavar 373 air missile shield possesses similar features to the Russian S-300, Fars reported. The Iranian news outlet said that the Iranian missile system has “increased mobility, agility and reduced launch-preparation time” than its Russian counterpart.

“Iran’s Air Defense Base has carried out great task in recent years, including the designing and manufacturing of Bavar 373 air defense missile system, which has the same capabilities as the Russian S-300,” the Iranian commander said.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has furiously protested the planned Russian supply and phoned President Vladimir Putin to try to persuade him to reconsider, but was rebuffed. Israel fears the S-300s would complicate any military intervention as a last resort to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive. It also fears Iran could supply the missile defense systems to Syria or Hezbollah, diluting Israel’s air supremacy over the region.

Moscow has stated that a preliminary agreement between the P5+1 world powers and Tehran over Iran’s nuclear program rendered the ban on missile sales no longer relevant.

On Friday, US President Barack Obama said he was surprised that Russia’s suspension of missile sales to Iran “held this long,” a comment that left Israeli analysts shocked and amazed.

Obama noted that Putin had previously suspended the sale “at our request. I am frankly surprised that it held this long, given that they were not prohibited by sanctions from selling these defensive weapons.”

Obama also said he’ll sign legislation expected to pass the Senate and House giving Congress a say on a final deal. He called it a “reasonable compromise.”

The legislation would block Obama from waiving congressional sanctions against Iran for at least 30 days after any final agreement. That would give lawmakers time to weigh in.

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