Russia made an ominous announcement last week in light of the George W. Bush administrations stance on Iran. Amid talk of U.N. sanctions and possible attacks on Iran, Russia said it will arm Tehran with missiles to protect Irans nuclear facilities from attack.
India Times reported Mikhail Dmitriyev, head of Russias military-technical cooperation agency, said: We concluded a contract for the supply of air defense systems to Iran, and there is no reason not to fulfill it.
The contract, valued at an estimated $700 million, would provide Iran with up to 30 Tor M-1 surface-to-air missiles. It is the largest transaction since 2000 when Russia pulled out of an agreement with the U.S. limiting the supply of military hardware to Iran.
Dmitriyev, the newspaper said, brushed aside media claims that talks were in progress for an additional number of heavier S-300 defense missiles.
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has emphasized that the Tor is a defensive weapon and that the sale is not violating Russias international obligations. The Tor is effective against aircraft, cruise missiles and guided bombs. He gave no indication of when the missiles would be delivered to Iran.
They are expected to be put in place at the nuclear research center at Isfahan and the reactor the Russians are building at the southern port of Bushehr.
Dmitriyev said Russias total export of arms in 2005 amounted to a record $6.1 billion. The target for this year is $7 billion, he said. The chief customers for Russian arms are China and India.
From the Feb. 15-21, 2006, issue