General Vahidi, who is currently the president of the Supreme National Defense University, said when the Russians initially refused to deliver the S-300, Iran started to build a prototype of the long-range air defense system.
“We told them that we will build the system ourselves indigenously, and ultimately, by God’s grace and through the diligence of the Iranian youth and elite, we built a better version in less than six years,” he added.
“Today, the Islamic Republic has the main say in the West Asia region, and Iran’s discourse dominates,” Vahidi said.
The discourse, however, is not one of “force and hegemony”, he added. “We are not trying to subject Iraq and Syria to hegemony, and do not seek to add even a palm’s length of soil to the country’s territory.”
“Our discourse features extrication of humanity,” the commander said, adding that thanks to the efforts of the country’s researchers and elite “no door would remain closed to the country”.
Iran designed and developed its own version of the S-300 missile shield, named Bavar 373, after the Russians shrugged off delivery of their advanced missile defense system to Iran on the pretext of the UN Security Council sanctions.
The Iranian version has superior features over the original Russian model as it enjoys increased mobility, agility and reduced launch-preparation time.
Iranian commanders had earlier said that Bavar 373 is similar to its original Russian model and traces and intercepts high-altitude targets.
After the removal of sanctions, Russia delivered S-300 air defense systems to Iran under the existing contract.