In parallel with reports of Israel’s preparations for a possible attack on Iran and a visit by the Israeli prime minister to the United States, Iran inaugurated a command and control facility of the Hazrat Masumeh Air Defence Group (HM ADG) around the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) in the Qom Province. Iran’s military air defence commander Brigadier General Alireza Sabahifard inaugurated the headquarters, saying that Iran was expanding its air defence system and “the enemy cannot even think of attacking Iran.” He praised Iran’s air and cyber defence systems, saying they were very technologically advanced. The HM ADG was formed in 2009 to protect the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP). In January 2013, an explosion occurred at a facility in Fordow and a nearby electrical facility.
Mahdi Farahi, deputy defence minister, said that Iran would soon launch a new and more advanced version of the Iranian-built Bavar-373 air defence system that may be at the same or higher level than the advanced Russian air defence system S-400. Iran unveiled Bavar-373 in August 2019 after it independently developed a system in response to Russia’s prohibition on exporting the Defence S-300 system to Iran. Iran claimed that the new system could identify 300 targets simultaneously, track 60 of them, engage six targets simultaneously, and even resist attempts to jam the system. During a visit to the ARMY-2020 exhibition in Russia, the Iranian defence minister was interested in several Russian air defence systems, including the S-400.
In October 2020, international sanctions prohibiting arms sales to Iran expired. Still, if Iran purchases the Russian S-400, Russia will be open to U.S. sanctions under the U.S. law, Countering Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).