MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. Russia’s Defense Ministry has denied reports on the alleged dispatch of the S-300PMU-2 Favorit missile systems from Astrakhan to Iran on February 18.
Earlier, media outlets announced that the first batch of the S-300 systems would be dispatched to Iran on Thursday. The reports claimed that the Iranian defense minister was expected to be present at the ceremony held behind closed doors.
"The beginning of deliveries of the first consignment of Favorit missile systems cannot take place since the Iranian side has not paid the price enshrined in the contract as of February 16," a high-ranking representative of the Russian Defense Ministry told TASS on Wednesday commenting on these media reports.
"Therefore, the presence of the Iranian defense minister in Astrakhan at the mythical ceremony of dispatching the first Favorit systems to Tehran is out of the question," he added.
Russia and Iran signed a contract on the delivery of five S-300 battalions in 2007. However, in the autumn of 2010 then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev banned the supply of these systems to Tehran. The contract worth more than $800 million was annulled and the advance payment returned to the Iranian side.
Iran filed a $4 billion lawsuit in the Court of Arbitration in Geneva over breach of the contract. According to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, Moscow persuaded Tehran to withdraw the lawsuit after "long and tough negotiations."
In the spring of 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted the ban on S-300 delivery to Tehran.