Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov confirmed Monday that Moscow has cut a deal with Tehran to supply it with short-range anti-aircraft missiles but he defended the sale as legitimate both in Russia and internationally.
"A contract for the supply of Tor anti-aircraft missile units to Iran has indeed been signed," Ivanov told reporters, the Interfax news agency reported.
Ivanov confirmed the deal three days after news reports disclosed that Moscow was selling more than 1 billion US dollars worth of missiles and other defense systems to Tehran.
However, Ivanov, who is also deputy prime minister, defended the deal by saying it will not affect the balance of strength in the region.
These Tor-M1 systems are "exclusively defensive weapons" that are used only to bring down aircraft and guided missiles at low altitudes but cannot be used to strike ground targets, Ivanov said.
"All Russian weapons supplies are being delivered within the law and in compliance with international commitments," he said.
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.