Global Energy Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Brenda Shaffer cowrites for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on the sale of Russian S-300 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) to Iran:
Iran has long been trying to acquire the S-300 to bolster its air defenses and protect its nuclear infrastructure. Tehran and Moscow originally signed an $800 million contract for the S-300 in December 2007 after a long and apparently fraught eight-year negotiation. Following the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1929 in June 2010 — which banned the transfer of most arms to Iran, but not SAMs — Russia announced three months later that it would not fulfill the contract, returning Iran’s $166.8 million down payment. In response, Tehran sought punitive damages for the canceled sale, bringing a $4 billion claim against Russia’s state-owned arms export company Rosoboronexport to the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, a Geneva-based arm of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.