Iran is set to sign an important arms contract with Russia next week to buy four S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, the newly purchased military technology brings Tehran closer to acquiring an advanced air defence capability.
Iranian defense minister said on Tuesday that the contract will soon be signed. "The text of the contract is ready and our friends will go to Russia next week to sign the contract," Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.
Dehghan had previously said only three "battalions" of S-300 launchers were ordered, but has since increased its order to four. "With four battalions, they should be able to deploy missile systems in four different locations," he said.
Modernised version of the S-300 will be supplied to Iran, once a commercial agreement has been reached, Russian state arms producer Almaz-Antey said.
Under pressure from the West, Russia cancelled a contract to deliver S-300s to Iran in 2010. However after the completed Iran deal, Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted the self-imposed ban.
Iran’s Javad Zarif and Russia’s Sergei Lavrov met in the Russian capital on Monday to discuss the Syrian conflict. Zarif had previously visited Damascus and paid Assad a visit days earlier.
Russia and Iran reiterated backing Assad in the conflict, in spite of the death of roughly 300,000 people since the beginning of the uprising against his regime.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed Israel's "dismay" at Russia's decision to supply the S-300s to Tehran.
Netanyahu is one of the world’s most vocal critics of the Iranian nuclear deal with the world powers, and called it a “historic mistake”.