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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Israel won't strike Iran - Russia's Medvedev

RIA Novosti

21:52 20/09/2009 MOSCOW, September 20 (RIA Novosti) - Israel will not strike Iran, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said.

Medvedev said in an interview with CNN aired Sunday that Israeli President Shimon Peres, when on a visit to the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi in August to discuss Russia's arms deals with Iran, told him: "Israel is not going to make any strikes on Iran, we are a peaceful country."

Medvedev said Russia supplies purely defensive armaments to Iran. "Our task is not to strengthen Iran and weaken Israel or vice versa, but [to establish] a normal, quiet situation in the Middle East," he said.

Asked what could happen should Israel nevertheless make a strike, Medvedev said: "This is the worst thing that could be imagined... This would be the most unwise development of events. But my Israeli colleagues told me they are not going to act like this, and I trust them."

Peres said in August that Russia could review its plans to deliver advanced air defense systems to Iran.

"President [Dmitry] Medvedev gave a promise he will reconsider the sales of S-300s because it affects the delicate balance which exists in the Middle East," Peres said during his visit to Sochi.

Russia has until recently delayed the implementation of a 2007 deal with Iran on the supply of S-300s. The contract is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Israel and the United States have been making proactive diplomatic efforts to influence Russia to drop the plans. They suspect the Islamic Republic of secretly seeking to build nuclear weapons, and have refused to rule out a military strike on its nuclear facilities.

Russian officials said in March that Iran had not yet received any missiles, but Moscow reaffirmed its commitment to fulfill the contract. Medvedev earlier said some payments under the contract had already been made.

S-300s are considered one of the world's most effective all-altitude regional air defense systems, comparable in performance to the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot system.

The latest version of the S-300 family is the S-300PMU2 Favorit, which has a range of up to 195 kilometers (about 120 miles) and can intercept aircraft and ballistic missiles at altitudes from 10 meters to 27 kilometers.


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