Iran to test own S-300 missiles despite Russia: commander

10th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Iran is to test its own homemade S-300 ground-to-air missiles, built in defiance of ally Russia which backed out of a deal to supply the device, a top Iranian military commander said on Wednesday.

"Very soon we will test long-range aerial defence missiles, including Iranian S-300s," Brigadier General Mohammad Hassan Mansourian told the state news agency IRNA.

In September, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree banning supplies of S-300 missiles and other arms to Iran.

Russia came under strong US and Israeli pressure not to go ahead with the sale of the weapons system which was seen as complicating any military action against Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.

Both Israel and the United States have refused to rule out resorting to military action to prevent Iran acquiring what they suspect is nuclear weapons capability, an ambition Tehran strongly denies.

Mansourian hit out at Russia for succumbing under the pressure of "American and Zionist regime."

"In order to provide for part of our security needs ... we wanted to buy S-300 from Russia," the general said.

"But this country (Russia) used the (UN sanctions) Resolution 1929 as a pretext in order to refuse the handing over of this defence weapon to us," he said.

The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1929 on June 9, in a fourth set of sanctions against Iran for pursuing its nuclear programme.

Top Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have lashed out at Russia for cancelling the S-300 deal. Russia had "sold out" Iran to its arch-foe, the United States, the president charged last week.

Russia, which has been a strong ally of Iran and built the Islamic republic's first nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr, said it would reimburse Tehran for its downpayments on the deal.

The contract was estimated to be worth a total of 800 million dollars (572 million euros).

© 2010 AFP

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