Russia lifted a ban on sending Iran its sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missile system, officials said Monday. The weapons could be shipped shortly, giving Tehran a new way to defend itself against any future bombing campaign.
The decision was made as Iran continues to negotiate with the United States and five other world powers to curtail its nuclear program in return for an easing of sanctions.
The S-300 missile system is able to hit multiple targets at once, and is typically launched from the back of a truck. The missiles can target aircraft and missiles flying more than 16 miles high, according to specifications published by the American Federation of Scientists, a nonprofit organization that provides analysis on national security issues.
Russia signed an $800 million deal to deliver S-300s to Iran in 2007, but decided to halt the weapons delivery after the United States and Israel protested that Tehran could use them to protect its nuclear facilities. Russian officials said Monday that sending the missile system to Iran wouldn’t jeopardize security in the region.