The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jareeda recently published an article that claims that Russia has delayed shipment of S-300 anti-aircraft missile system supplies to Iran for reasons other than financial difficulties. According to Al-Jareeda, Moscow is displeased with Iran’s breach of obligations not to provide missile weapons to Lebanese Hezbollah. The story was quickly circulated by the Israeli media, in particular, by The Jerusalem Post, Maariv and Israel Hayom.
The Hezbollah allegedly received Pantsir-S1 (SA-22) surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery weapon systems and Russian Yakhont supersonic, anti-ship, cruise missiles. According to Al-Jareeda, the Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the suspension of supplies of S-300 to Iran after he received clear evidence from Israel that Iranians transferred those weapon systems—received from the Russian Federation—to Hezbollah.
The article also claims that the Israeli intelligence information was confirmed by Russian pilots who carry out flights over Lebanon and Syria. The pilots found these weapon systems in Hezbollah-controlled, Lebanese territory. Moscow apparently made it clear to Tehran that their interests in Syria are not aligned. Russian servicemen would not need the involvement of Iranian Armed Forces in order to rescue Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
Last October, speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that the Hezbollah smuggled the weapons systems ostensibly to bring down Israeli aircraft and sink Israeli ships. Iran provided highly valuable surface-to-sruface missiles and attack drones that could potentially target any point in Israel. The foreign media reported that the Israeli Air Force carried out air strikes on Hezbollah warehouses in Lebanon and Syria, where the Pantsir-S1 and Yakhont missiles were being stored.
Iran was due to receive the first batch of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems on February 18th but they still have not received them to date. The TASS Russian news agency reported claims by the Russian Ministry of Defense that Iran has not yet paid for the new S-300 supplies, as document by the contract.
Later, the press spokesman for the President of Russia, Dmitry Peskov, stated in his interview with TASS that the delivery dates were not yet specified because they had not yet received payment for them.