Obama: US could ‘penetrate’ Iran S-300 missile defense system

The S-300 missile defense system, which Russia is selling to Iran, is an obstacle that can be overcome, says President Obama. Israel’s defense minister agrees. 

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

An S-300 battery on parade in Moscow. (Vitaly V. Kuzmin/wikicommons)

After the Kremlin announced its decision last week to lift the ban on the sale of the advanced S-300 missile air defense system to Iran, which could hinder an aerial attack on the Islamic Republic, US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that this obstacle could be overcome.

Speaking in an interview on MSNBC, Obama said he opposed the sale but was not worried about its effects on a military operation against Iran.

“If they [the Iranians] do weaponize their nuclear program, they will have a fantastic defense system against any attack on their nuclear facilities,“ MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews said, referring to the Russian-supplied S-300 system.

Obama replied by saying that it would not pose a serious threat, stressing that the situation needs to be seen “in perspective.”

“Our defense budgets are just a little bit under $600 billion. Theirs is a little over $17 billion,” Obama explained.  “Even if they have some air defense systems, if we had to, we could penetrate them.”

“This is a sale that’s been pending for six years,” he continued. “It’s of concern, we object to it, particularly because right now we’re still negotiating [a nuclear agreement].”

The president continued his defense of the nuclear deal with Iran, saying it was in the best interests of the region.


Defense Minister Ya’alon (C). (Ariel Hermoni/MOD)

“My goal is to make sure we can negotiate a deal we know we can verify that ensures Israel is safe and…Saudi Arabia and the gulf countries are safe and that there is not a nuclear arms race in the region,” he said. “Ultimately, it is going to be up to the Iranians to make sure they come to the table prepared to memorialize what has already been agreed to.”

Speaking on Israel’s IDF Radio on Tuesday, Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon echoed Obama’s sentiments on the S-300 obstacle. “Any system that the opposing side [Iran] equips itself with poses a challenge. [However], any system created by man can be overcome by man, and I am glad we have an outstanding military industry,” he said.