Friday, December 23, 2005

Russia to honor Iran arms deal despite US objection

Russia will fully comply with a deal with Iran to supply it with the Tor-M1 air defense systems despite US objections, a senior Defense Ministry official said Friday.

"The Russian side, despite objections from the United States, will honor its contract with Iran for the supply of the upgraded version of the Tor system," the official was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

The official said delivery of the 30 Tor-M1 systems will begin in January and be completed by the end of next year.

The deal is believed to be worth 1.4 billion US dollars and is the biggest ever arms deal between Russia and Iran.

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.

US officials have called the deal a source of concern and said the United States strongly opposed the missile sale.

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov earlier confirmed and defended the deal saying Russia did not violate any international obligations in signing the deal because Iran is subject to any international sanction.

"That was an absolutely legal deal, like it or not," he said. READ MORE