Theodore's World: Russia to Honor Iran Arms Deal

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May 28, 2006

Russia to Honor Iran Arms Deal

BBC News
Russia's defence minister has confirmed that Moscow intends to honour a controversial deal to supply Iran with surface-to-air missiles.

The contract for up to 30 missile systems would be fulfilled except in "extraordinary circumstances", Sergei Ivanov said, without elaborating.

He stressed that, because of their technical characteristics, the missiles could not be used by terrorist groups.

The $700m (£380m) deal, signed last year, has been condemned by the US.

Washington wants all countries to stop exporting weapons to Iran. Russia insists its short-range Tor-M1 system is purely defensive.

"As far as Russia's position is concerned, we strictly abide by all non-proliferation regimes, and when we hear reproaches that Russia is secretly helping Iran - it is just propaganda," the Interfax news agency quoted Mr Ivanov as saying.

He made the comments following a meeting with his German counterpart, Franz Josef Jung in St Petersburg.

Russia, along with China, is strongly against attempts to impose United Nations sanctions on Iran, which the US accuses of pursuing nuclear weapons.

The U.S. State Department quickly called on Ivanov to reconsider the deal.

The Tor-M1, also known as Gauntlet SA-15, is designed to intercept targets at medium and low altitudes, including war planes and helicopters as well as cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The system is carried on a tracked vehicle that can be moved from place to place. Ivanov characterized the weapons as purely defensive and dismissed suspicion they could make their way into the hands of Islamic terrorists.

Once deployed, however, the weapons would be added to the strategic mix as the United States and Iran posture in a diplomatic tussle over Iran's nuclear power program, which the Bush administration insists is a cover for nuclear weapons development.

While Washington says a military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities is not an option, fielding the Tor-M1 would no doubt make it tougher for anyone to destroy the controversial sites, or spy on them from low altitude.

Posted by Wild Thing at May 28, 2006 12:55 AM


Note to Dubya;

Putin is not our friend.


Vincente Fox is not our friend.

Posted by: TomR at May 28, 2006 12:09 PM

Good one Tom and exactly right.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 29, 2006 12:30 AM

You dance with the Devil and you get?????????

Posted by: Tincan Sailor at May 29, 2006 02:32 PM