: AFP: Iran unveils Russian S-300 missile system parts at army parade

13:46 Apr. 17, 2016

AFP: Iran unveils Russian S-300 missile system parts at army parade

S-300 missile system is displayed by Iran's army during a parade marking National Army Day, just outside Tehran, Iran, April 17, 2016 (AP Photo)

Parts of air defence system ordered form Russia were shown during the military parade held in southern Tehran

Iran used its annual Army Day parade Sunday (April 17) to showcase parts of a long-awaited air defence system ordered from Russia, a move likely to irk critics of the arms deal.

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The S-300 system has been on order since 2007 but Russia postponed the sale three years later after the UN Security Council passed a resolution relating to Iran's nuclear programme.

A deal between Iran and six world powers over its nuclear activities which lifted sanctions in January removed the barriers to delivery but the fully operational system is still awaited.

According to pictures published by the semi-official ISNA news agency, S-300 missile tubes and the radar equipment were shown during the military parade held in southern Tehran.

Read also Russia ships first S-300 air defence missiles to Iran

Iran insists the system is necessary to defend itself from threats of attack, including possible bombing of its nuclear facilities, and the S-300 would allow early detection of approaching aircraft.

Israel and the United States have hit out at the sale, which is seen as a means for Russia to maintain influence in the Middle East.

Read also Russia is more dangerous than Islamic State - Polish Foreign Minister

Iran and Russia are also in talks on a sale of the Sukhoi SU-30 fighter, another proposal criticised by the US. Iran's current air force fleet dates from the pre-revolutionary era of the Shah.

Speaking at Sunday's parade, President Hassan Rouhani insisted Iran's plans to upgrade its military capabilities were defensive in nature, referring to the worst conflicts in the Middle East.

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