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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia denies talks with Iran on S-300 deliveries

RIA Novosti

28/12/2007 13:06 MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is not negotiating deliveries of S-300 air defense systems to Iran despite certain media rumors, the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said Friday.

Media reports earlier cited Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar as saying that Iran and Russia had agreed to deliver an unspecified number of advanced S-300 air defense complexes to the Islamic Republic under a previously signed contract.

"The issue of the delivery of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran, raised by the media, is not a subject of current negotiations and has not been discussed with the Iranians," the agency said in a statement on its website.

"Russia and Iran are continuing to develop cooperation in the military-technical sphere in full accordance with international arms export regulations and obligations," the statement said.

The advanced version of the S-300 missile system, called S-300PMU1 (SA-20 Gargoyle), has a range of over 150 kilometers (about 100 miles) and can intercept ballistic missiles and aircraft at low and high altitudes, making this system an effective tool for warding off possible air strikes on Iran.

U.S. authorities have repeatedly called on Russia to stop arms deliveries to countries whose political regimes Washington disapproves of, including Iran.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in October that Russia would not take into consideration attempts to impose arms deal restrictions "based on unilateral and politicized assessments". He said deliveries of Russian weapons were aimed exclusively at increasing the defense capability of the countries receiving them, and at maintaining their stability.

Moscow supplied Iran with 29 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems in late January under a $700-million contract signed in late 2005. Russia has also trained Iranian Tor-M1 specialists, including radar operators and crew commanders.

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