The shipment of Russian S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran has been delayed due to payment issues, said the Kremlin on Thursday.
“The deal has not been paid for properly, so it is premature to speak about a concrete delivery date,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
He did not say whether the issue was discussed at a Tuesday meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and visiting Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan.
On Wednesday, Iranian media reported that Russia was expected to hand over the first batch of the missile system on Thursday and that Dehghan would attend a ceremony in Russia’s Astrakhan port city for the purpose.
But a high-ranking official of the Russian Defense Ministry dismissed the media reports, according to Tass.
Russia and Iran signed an 800-million U.S. dollar contract in 2007 to supply Iran with five S-300 systems. In September 2010, then President Dmitry Medvedev canceled the contract in line with a resolution of the UN Security Council, which banned such supplies to Iran.
In April last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted the ban while Iran withdrew the lawsuit against Russia.
The original S-300 system, also named SA-10 Grumble by NATO, was first deployed in the former Soviet Union in 1979 to defend the country against aircraft and cruise missiles.
Subsequent modernized versions were developed to intercept ballistic missiles, and the S-300 is currently regarded as one of the most potent air defense systems.