Russia has offered Iran advanced surface-to-air missiles after a deal to supply less powerful S-300 missiles was dropped under Western pressure, the state defense company said Monday.
Head of Russian state defense conglomerate Rostec, Sergei Chemezov, said Tehran was now considering the offer, TASS news agency reported.
“As far as Iran is concerned, we offered Antey-2500 instead of S-300. They are thinking. No decision has been made yet,” Chemezov was quoted as saying.
Chemezov said the Antey-2500 is a more modern version of the S-300, which Russia no longer makes. The same surface-to-air missiles were reportedly delivered to Venezuela in 2013.
The Antey-2500 was developed from the 1980s-generation S-300V system (SA-12A Gladiator and SA-12B Giant). It can engage missiles traveling at 4,500 meters per second, with a range of 2,500 km (1,500 miles), according to the company that makes it, Almaz-Antey.
Chemezov told reporters conflicts in the Middle East had helped boost Russian arm sales, according to TASS.
“I don’t conceal it, and everyone understands this, the more conflicts there are, the more they buy off weapon from us. Volumes are continuing to grow despite sanctions. Mainly, it’s Latin America and the Middle East,” he was quoted as saying.
Russia scrapped a contract to supply Iran with S-300 surface-to-air missiles under Western pressure in 2010, and Iran later filed a $4-billion international arbitration suit against Russia in Geneva.
The United States and Israel lobbied Russia to block the missile sale, saying it could be used to shield Iran’s nuclear facilities from possible future air strikes.