Russia Fulfills Iran Missile Deal

A0023435.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Russia fulfilled a contract to sell air defense missiles to Iran, the head of the country’s state-run weapons exporter said on 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 US complaints.

The US last year called on all countries to stop all arms exports to Iran and 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 while they have never been able to present corroborative evidence substantiating their claims. Tehran denies the allegation, insisting its nuclear activities are aimed only at producing energy and serving other peaceful civilian purposes.

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 UN 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.

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