As reported earlier this week, Israel’s Major General Amos Gilad has met with top Russian officials to pressure them to back off a reported plan to sell Iran the S-300, their most advanced air defense system.
Taking a different tack than previous comments on the potential sale, Maj-Gen. Gilad suggested that the delivery of the system “can help Iran wipe Israel off the face of earth.” Exactly how they would do that, given their purely defensive nature, is unclear, but it would certainly make a planned Israeli attack on Iran far less convenient.
In August Israel attempted to get Russia to back off any such sale by claiming to have a secret “electronic warfare device” under development which would neutralize the system not just in Iran, but in Russia where it serves as the backbone of the nation’s air defense. That tack seems not to have had the desired effect, as reports are that the two sides are once again meeting to discuss delivery of the system.
Appealing to Russia’s desire not to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth is certainly a novel approach after such threats, particularly given the nature of the systems in question, but Gilad says “we expect Russia to demonstrate responsibility on the issue.” He also denied allegations that he was in Russia to finalize a secret deal in which Israel would stop selling weapons to Georgia if Russia did the same with Iran.