Antiaircraft missiles supplied to Iran
Photo: AP

Russia giving Iran only defensive weapons

Moscow's state arms export agency says it is supplying Iran with weapons including surface-to-air missiles, but does not say whether they include sophisticated long-range S-300 missiles

Russia's state arms export agency said Monday that it is supplying Iran with defensive weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, but did not say whether they include the sophisticated long-range S-300 missiles.


Iranian media reported Sunday that Russia had begun supplying the S-300s – an action that Israel and the United States have aggressively opposed.


Rosoboronexport said in a statement that "only weapons of a defensive nature are being supplied to Iran, including anti-aircraft weaponry." It added that, previously, Tor-M1 air-defense systems were supplied to Iran.


"Russia is developing military-technical cooperation with Iran in strict compliance with its international commitments stemming from nonproliferation agreements. This cooperation cannot be a source of concern for third countries," the statement said.


An official who answered the phone at Rosoboronexport headquarters said he could not answer whether Moscow had supplied S-300 missiles to Tehran.


Israel and the United States fear that, were Iran to possess S-300 missiles, it would use them to protect its first nuclear power plant now under construction at Bushehr by Russian contractors. That would make any potential military strike on the plant much more difficult.


Israel, the United States and much of the international community believe that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons. Tehran insists its uranium enrichment program is intended solely for civilian energy needs.


Bushehr is scheduled to go online early in 2009 after repeated delays.


פרסום ראשון: 12.22.08, 13:35
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