Putin is ready to sell Iran a 'game-changing' weapon

RTX11AYIReutersIran’s purchase of the Russian S-300 missile defence system could shift the balance of power in the region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Iran’s willingness and flexibility in trying to find a solution with the West over its nuclear programme had spurred his decision to renew a contract to deliver an S-300 missile defence system to Tehran.

“And now with the progress of the Iranian nuclear track – and that is obviously positive – we do not see any reason to continue to keep the ban (on the delivery of the S-300) unilaterally,” he said.

Iran’s acquisition of S-300 systems would be “a complete game changer for all fourth-gen aircraft [like the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18]. That thing is a beast and you don’t want to get near it,” a senior US Marine Corps aviator told The Daily Beast.

The S-300 “essentially makes Iran attack-proof by Israel and almost any country without fifth-gen [stealth fighter] capabilities. In other words, Iran, with the S-300, can continue to do what they want once those systems are in place without fear of attack from anyone save the US,” a senior Air Force commander told The Daily Beast.

Putin said Russia would still work “as one” with its partners in the United Nations over Iran and that deliveries of the S-300 would work as a deterrent in the Middle East, in his annual televised call-in show.

(Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper, Vladimir Soldatkin, Lidia Kelly, Andrey Kuzmin, Polina Devitt, Jack Stubbs, Jason Bush and Maria Tsvetkova; Writing by Elizabeth Piper, editing by Timothy Heritage)

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