Iran bolsters defenses around nuclear sites by adding Russian-made long-range missiles

Monday, August 29, 2016 by

( Iran has bolstered its defenses around its Fordo nuclear site in the central part of the country, adding sophisticated Russian-made air defense missiles, according to state television.

Iranian Gen. Farzad Esmaili, commander of all of Iran’s air defenses, said that protecting the country’s nuclear facilities “in all circumstances” was vital.

“Today, Iran’s sky is one of the most secure in the region,” he noted, as quoted by Agence France Presse.

A video played on state television showed an S-300 carrier vehicle in Fordo as it raised its missile launchers towards the sky. It was deployed near additional counterstrike weaponry.

Images of the air defense system aired just hours after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered a speech to air force commanders, including Esmaili, stressing that Iran’s growing military strength was for defensive purposes only.

“Continued opposition and hype on the S-300 or the Fordo site are examples of the viciousness of the enemy,” Khamenei said. “The S-300 system is a defense system not an assault one, but the Americans did their best for Iran not to get hold of it.”

Some experts may question why Iran felt it necessary to bolster air defenses around nuclear facilities that are supposedly not producing uranium.

The Fordo site, which was built into a mountain near Qom, has allegedly ceased enriching uranium as part of last year’s nuclear agreement with the United States and five other powers, including Russia. Iran implemented the deal in January.

The Fordo site is built at a depth of about 300 feet and was revealed by Western powers in 2009, The Associated Press reported.

Under the agreement Iran was to dismantle some 19,000 centrifuges, which are huge spinning machines that enrich uranium. Tehran agreed to keep only 5,000 operating and only for research purposes.

Iran and the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia negotiated for more than two years before signing a historic July 2015 agreement that removed some international sanctions in return for curbs on Tehran’s controversial atomic program, AFP reported.

The S-300 system (NATO code name SA-10 Grumble) is highly sophisticated and considered one of the best in the world. The former Soviet Union first deployed it in 1979. It is designed to defend against cruise missiles and aircraft.

It is a long-range system that is fully-automated. An evolved version, the S-400 (SA-21 Growler) entered limited service in 2004.

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