Saturday, December 03, 2005

US downplays Russia-Iran missile deal

Press Trust of India:
The United States has taken a low profile position on the reported sale of Russian missiles to Iran saying that it has only seen reports to this effect and was evaluating them.

Washington's lack of instant criticism or comment against Moscow has to be seen against the backdrop of the latter's active role vis-a-vis Iran in the realm of its nuclear activities.

"A couple of things. One, we've seen the news reports. I think there were reports that Iran has signed a deal to buy TOR M1 missiles - Russian tactical surface-to-air missile systems. We are at this point evaluating those reports. At this point, I couldn't confirm the validity of those reports" the state department spokesman Sean McCormack said yesterday in a brief response to a query. READ MORE

The spokesman was asked if the United States would try and stop the deal and what kind of leverage Washington had.

"Well, you're presupposing that there is a deal and what I just said was we're working to confirm that these reports are valid", McCormack said.

A Russian newspaper Vedomosti had reported, quoting an unidentified manager at a military-industrial enterprise as saying that Russia would provide Iran with 29 TOR missile systems.

However, the state arms export agency, Rosoboronexport, said it had no information on the reported deal.