Iran has received its first shipment of missiles for the sophisticated S-300 air defense system, the Iranian Tasnim media outlet reported Monday.
Russia is supplying Iran with the advanced S-300 PMU2 system rather than the PMU1 system–information that was previously withheld. Moscow began in April delivering the S-300 missile defense system to Tehran, which displayed part of it in a military parade held to mark National Army Day on April 17.
"The first shipment of missiles of S-300 missile system has recently entered Iran that shows Iran’s determination to equip its air defense circle with this system," the Revolutionary Guard-linked Tasnim news agency reported.
The missile defense system provides long-range protection against planes and missiles. Russia’s agreement to provide Iran with the S-300 missiles has concerned Israeli officials.
Israeli Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel said last year that the missile system was "significant but not insurmountable for the IAF," according to the Times of Israel.
The United States has also expressed concerns about the weapons transfer because of the system’s advanced capabilities. Some lawmakers have called on the Obama administration to designate the sale illegal and impose sanctions if both parties continue going through with it.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jaberi Ansari said in April that the system’s delivery had already begun.
"We had already announced that despite several changes in time of delivery, the deal is on its path of implementation. Today I should announce that the first part of these equipment has arrived in Iran and delivery of other parts will continue," Ansari said, according to the Mehr news agency.
Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, Iran’s Air Defense Commander, has said that the S-300 system will be fully operational at the end of the Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2017).
Russia had agreed to deliver the air defense system to Iran in 2007 as part of an $800 million contract. Moscow reneged on the deal in 2010 amid international pressure, especially from the U.S. and Israel, as countries began imposing stricter sanctions on Tehran for its nuclear program. Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted the ban in April 2015 following an interim agreement that led to the Iran nuclear deal’s completion in July of that year.