Iran General NewsRussia denies arms could reach Iran via Syria

Russia denies arms could reach Iran via Syria

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AFP: Russia on Wednesday denied a press report which claimed that air-defence systems sold to Syria would be re-exported to Iran. MOSCOW, May 23, 2007 (AFP) – Russia on Wednesday denied a press report which claimed that air-defence systems sold to Syria would be re-exported to Iran.

Jane’s Defence Weekly reported in its latest edition that Syria agreed to send Iran at least 10 air defence systems that the government in Damascus is buying from Russia.

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov told a televised press conference in Moscow that such a sale would not be possible without Russia’s consent, which he said had not been given.

“No requests or queries have been received from anyone on behalf of Syria, not just for the Pantsyr (air-defence systems) but even for a single round of ammunition,” said Ivanov.

He said a contract for any weapons sale was finalized only after an end-user certificate was received.

“Thus this weapon cannot be re-exported and delivered to a third country without the agreement of the seller, in this case, the Russian Federation,” said Ivanov, widely seen as a possible successor to President Vladimir Putin at elections next year.

Citing a source close to the deal, Jane’s said Moscow had agreed to sell Damascus some 50 Pantsyr-S1E self-propelled short-range missile air defence systems for an estimated 730 million dollars (542 million euros).

The source told Jane’s that Tehran and Damascus made the arrangement to spare Moscow further diplomatic pressure from the West over defence sales.

Russia was criticized by Israel and the United States for agreeing to supply Iran with the Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile system in 2005, a deal completed in January.

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