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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:41, December 08, 2005
Russian minister justifies air defense contract with Iran
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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov stated on Wednesday that it was legitimate that Russia signed a contract with Iran for the delivery of 29 anti-aircraft systems Tor M-1 and has not violated Russia's international obligations.

"This deal is absolutely legitimate whether or not somebody likes or dislikes it," Ivanov told reporters commenting on a statement by US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli.

Ereli Monday noted that the deal between Russia and Iran does not meet the US interests or interests of the region. He called Iran a sponsor of terrorism involved in hostile actions.

According to the US State Department spokesman, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns had informed Russian officials about the US concern over the deal during his recent visit to Moscow.

The United States is going to continue the discussion of this matter with Russia, Ereli said.

Ivanov said in response that the anti-aircraft system "Tor M-1 is not a missile weapon, but just a means of air defense that cannot work against the ground".

"This surely will not cause a change of balance of forces in the region," Ivanov underlined, noting the contract with Iran was concluded "in the strictest accordance with Russian legislation and international obligations of Russia".

According to an official of the Russian Defense Ministry, the price of the deal could be above 700 million US dollars. Iran has not struck such major deals with any state for several years, and its conditions benefit both sides.

The anti-aircraft systems to be exported to Iran had been commissioned by Greece that bought 21 of them in the late 1990s, but later refused to purchase any more.

Tor M-1 is an all-weather anti-aircraft system for air defense use at a division level. It ensures reliable protection against cruise missile, guided bombs, planes, helicopters, unmanned and remote controlled assault craft, the Itar-Tass said.

Source: Xinhua

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