Russia will proceed with a deal to sell Tor-M1 short-range missiles to Iran despite the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Friday.
Moscow cut a 1-billion-U.S.-dollar deal with Tehran in November to supply it with Tor-M1 short-range missiles. Russian officials described these missiles as air defense systems that are used only to bring down aircraft and guided missiles at low altitudes but cannot strike ground targets.
"The contract on these systems is not linked and cannot be linked to (Iran's) nuclear dossier," Ivanov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
The contract is also in line with international law and Russian and Iranian laws, Ivanov said, adding the missiles are purely defensive weapons.
Ivanov's remarks came days after Iran removed UN seals at its Natanz nuclear research facility to pave the way for resumption of research on uranium enrichment following two days of talks between Iranian and Russian officials in Tehran.
Foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana called on Thursday for an emergency session of the UN nuclear watchdog to vote on referring Iran to UN Security Council to face possible sanctions.