Russia is preparing to equip Iran with a powerful new air defense system that would dramatically increase its ability to repel an attack, Iran's defense minister said Wednesday.
The S-300 anti-aircraft missile defense system is capable of shooting down aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missile warheads at ranges of over 90 miles and at altitudes of about 90,000 feet. Russian military officials boast that its capabilities outstrip the U.S. Patriot missile system.
Putin has made it clear he opposes U.S. deployment of an air-missile defense shield in eastern Europe. For whatever reasons fathomable, the Russians simply do not want it.
Whether or not the Russian government is serious about doing this, whether or not the system could be as effective as touted, remains yet to be seen. But, one thing we cannot rule out here is Russia may be using this as a bargaining chip for us to re-think our stance on the European deal (like the deal in the 60s that was produced from the Cuban Missile Crisis).