1218 GMT December 12, 2019
Iran deployed the Russian-supplied S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system around its Fordo nuclear facility, national TV reported late Sunday.
The IRIB aired footage of trucks arriving at the site near the central city of Qom and missile launchers being aimed skyward.
"Our main priority is to protect Iran's nuclear facilities under any circumstances," Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, the commander of the Khatam-ul-Anbia Air Defense Base said.
The general did not say whether the system was operational, but added: "Today, Iran's sky is one of the most secure in the Middle East."
Earlier in the day, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that Iran's military power is for defensive purposes.
Ayatollah Khamenei said foreign opposition and widespread hype over Russia's delivery of the S-300 air defense system to Iran and the status of the Fordo nuclear facility were major examples of the enemy’s wickedness.
“The S-300 system is a defensive and not an offensive system, but the Americans made their utmost efforts to [prevent] the Islamic Republic’s access to such a facility,” the Leader added.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the enemy does not even recognize the Iranian nation’s right to protect itself and “in fact, it is saying that you [must] remain defenseless so that we can attack your country any time we want”.
The Leader urgeD the air defense base to remain vigilant, take timely action, and use different approaches and advanced means.
“The enemy must understand that if it launches an attack, it will be dealt a powerful blow and that our defense will also include giving a [proper] response [to any aggressor],” the Leader added.
On August 20, Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan announced that Iran will fully receive the remaining consignment of the missile defense system in a month.
Russia undertook to deliver the systems – which are used to intercept tactical and ballistic aircraft and projectiles – to Iran under an $800-million deal in 2007 but refused to deliver on the commitment, citing UN sanctions against Iran.
Following Moscow’s refusal to deliver the systems, Iran filed a complaint against the relevant Russian arms manufacturer with the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva.
In April 2015, President Vladimir Putin lifted the Russian self-imposed ban on the delivery of the S-300 and subsequently Moscow signed a new contract to supply Iran with the systems by the end of that year. Tehran recently dropped the case at the arbitration court.