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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:37, December 04, 2005
Russia: arms sales to Iran "exclusively defensive weapons"
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Russia's arms sales to Iran were only for defense purposes, the Russian foreign ministry said on Saturday, one day after news reports disclosed that Moscow was selling more than 1 billion US dollars worth of missiles and other defense systems to Tehran.

"Russia has no practice of commenting on any specific contract of military cooperation, including that with Iran," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin in a statement, adding that the arms sales to Iran were "exclusively defensive weapons."

All of Russia's arms contracts "fully comply with its international commitments, including in the sphere of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and are in full accordance with Russian laws," said the statement.

Interfax news agency on Friday quoted a source from Russia's military industry as saying that Russia and Iran had signed a deal for sales of Russian arms and military equipment worth 1 billion dollars to Iran in November.

Russia will deliver up to 30 Tor-M1 air defense systems to Iran starting from 2006, and an agreement on modernizing Iran's military aircraft was also reached, said the source.

The Tor-M1 system is capable of identifying up to 48 targets and tracing and firing at two targets simultaneously at a height of up to 6,100 meters.

On Saturday, Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, downplayed the deal, telling the official Islamic Republic News Agency that Iran has been trading arms with many countries and would continue to do so.

"It existed before, and there was no ban on it. We do not see any necessity to answer any question in this regard," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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