Russia Reverses on S-300 Missile Sale to Iran

Kremlin Now Says Sanctions Do Ban Defensive Missiles

Less than 24 hours after the Russian Foreign Ministry insisted that the long-delayed sale of the S-300 missile defense system to Iran was still on track and that the UN Security council sanctions did not apply to the defensive missiles.

Today, Russia has reversed that position entirely, and the Kremlin says that the sanctions actually do forbid the sale. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin insists that the sale has been frozen.

Russia initially signed the pact to deliver the missiles in 2007, and over the past several years has maintained that the sale was still on track, though they never delivered any part of the system.

Iran was keen to buy the missiles, the backbone of Russia’s air defense, as a hedge against the oft-threatened Israeli attack against them. Israel repeatedly dispatched officials to Russia regarding the possible delivery, on differing occasions pleading with Russia or threatening them over the possible delivery.

With the S-300’s delivery now permanently on hold, and the US already moving forward with threats for more sanctions against Iran, the Iranian government will likely attempt to develop other defensive or retaliatory measures in the event that the attack eventually does happen.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.