AP: Russia fulfilled a contract to sell air defense missiles to Iran, Russian news agencies quoted the head of the country’s state-run weapons exporter as saying Tuesday. Associated Press
MOSCOW (AP) – Russia fulfilled a contract to sell air defense missiles to Iran, Russian news agencies quoted the head of the country’s state-run weapons exporter as saying Tuesday.
Russia fulfilled its contract obligations and “completed in full the delivery of Tor M-1 missiles to Iran,” ITAR-Tass quoted Rosoboronexport chief Sergei Chemezov as saying in Bangalore, India, where he was on a visit along with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.
Defense Ministry officials previously said Moscow would supply 29 of the sophisticated missile systems to Iran under a $700 million contract signed in December 2005, according to Russian media reports.
Ivanov said last week that at least some of the missiles had been sent, the first high-level confirmation that their delivery took place despite U.S. complaints. At the time, however, a ministry official speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject said not all the systems contracted for had been delivered. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy.
The U.S. last year called on all countries to stop all arms exports to Iran, as well as end all nuclear cooperation with it to put pressure on Tehran to halt uranium enrichment activities. Israel has also severely criticized arms deals with Iran.
Russian officials say that the missiles are purely defensive weapons with a limited range and argue that the Tor-M1 deal, involving conventional weapons, does not violate any international agreements.
Washington and its allies accuse Iran of secretly trying to develop atomic weapons. Tehran denies the allegation, insisting its nuclear activities are aimed only at producing energy.
On Monday, Iran conducted missile tests and said it had barred 38 United Nations nuclear inspectors from entering the country.
Blocking inspections apparently came in retaliation for a U.N. Security Council resolution last month imposing limited sanctions on Iran over its refusal to cease uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for nuclear energy or bombs.