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New Russian Missile Systems for Iran After TOR-M1 Failure

When the Israelis attacked a Syrian ‘nuclear bomb plant’ deep inside Syria September 6th, there has been a noticeable silence on the issue from all quarters - chief among them Syria and Iran. Both nations had invested heavily (and very publicly) in the Russian TOR-M1 anti-aircraft missile defense systems. Iran had positioned dozens of them around its nuclear facilities to overtly ward off any potential American or Israeli airstrikes. But the Israeli air raid of September 6th rendered the TOR-M1 mute and effectively reduced them to expensive lawn ornaments - hence, in part, the silence from Syria and Iran. In addition to the nature of the Syrian site destroyed - North Korean, Iranian and Syrian joint efforts - a suspected nuclear endeavor, the utter failure of the TOR-M1 system reverberated through the halls of Damascus and Tehran...as well as their allied Moscow suppliers.

All of the above is to provide the proper context for understanding the cause behind the fact that Russia is now selling Iran a 'new sophisticated' air defense missile system, the S-300. The Russian truck-portable S-300 system is comparable to Raytheon's Patriot missile system, which is designed for high-altitude anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic missile defenses.

Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said on Iranian state TV that "The S-300 air defense system will be delivered to Iran on the basis of a contract signed with Russia in the past."

While there is likely some truth to that, to dismiss the immediacy and impetus provided by the complete Israeli defeat of the currently supplied TOR-M1 systems deep inside Syria is to abandon common sense. Both Tehran and Damascus were shaken and angered by the complete systems failure.

Background:

ThreatsWatch 2005: Diverging Relations - Russia's $1B Deal with Iran
ThreatsWatch 2006: Russian Missiles For Iranian Nuke Plants Delivered

Also of interest regarding Russian arms sales:

UK Guardian: US aims to edge out Russia in big arms sales to India