The federal agency overseeing Russia's military exports on Friday denied reports that the country is planning to deliver S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran.
Iran's defense minister said this week that Russia is preparing to equip Iran with the missile systems that would dramatically increase the country's ability to repel an attack.
But the Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service denied the claim in a brief statement.
"The question of deliveries of S-300 systems to Iran, which has now arisen in the mass media, is not currently taking place, is not being considered and is not being discussed at this time with the Iranian side," said the agency, known by its Russian initials, FSVTS.
Of course your first reaction to that is to say "yeah, not today, anyway" isn't it? It is not "currently taking place, is not being considered and not being discussed at this time" means it may be all of the above tomorrow.
But before you get your briefs in a bunch, according to missilethreat.com, Iran has had the S-300 system since 1993. The S-300 system (aka SA-10 Grumble) is actually one of Russia's oldest active ADA systems having first been fielded in 1980. Of course it has gone through a raft of upgrades since that time and, if reports are to be believed, is a formidable ADA system (although those sorts of reports always seem to be written about Russian ADA systems and for the most part, the systems seem to come up considerably short when tested in actual combat).
My guess is what is "currently taking place, being considered and being discussed" right now is upgrading those existing systems in Iran to the most current export version.
And, fyi, Russia is replacing its present S-300 systems with an S-400 system.
If Wikipedia is to be believed, Syria also possesses the S-300, and if so, you saw how effective they were during the recent destruction of a suspected plutonium processing plant by the Israeli airforce.
All ADA systems are something to be taken seriously, but they still have to survive SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) missions and HARM missles before they can take anything out. And so far, we do a pretty fair job of seeing they don't get that chance. We try not to let any strike aircraft enter the engagement zone until we're satisfied that SEAD missions have been effective - or at least that's the plan.