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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to supply air defense systems to Iran - defense minister

RIA Novosti

26/05/2006 13:26

ST. PETERSBURG, May 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will honor its commitments to supply Tor-M1 air defense systems to Iran, the defense minister said Friday.

"The contract was signed and we need time to fulfill it. It will be fulfilled if nothing unforeseen happens," Sergei Ivanov said.

Ivanov, who is also deputy prime minister, said the Tor M1 was designed for operation at medium, low and very low altitudes and "could not be used in hypothetic terrorist activities."

At the end of 2005, Russia signed a $700-million contract on supplies of 29 Tor M1 air defense systems to Iran.

The Tor-M1 is a fifth-generation integrated mobile air defense system designed for operation at medium, low and very low altitudes against fixed/rotary wing aircraft, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle), guided missiles and other high-precision weapons.

Despite strong criticism from the United States, Russia has maintained that the systems could be used only to protect Iranian air space.

President Vladimir Putin said in March that Russia increased its military hardware exports to more than $6 billion in 2005, and supplied 61 countries.

India and China remain leading importers of Russian armaments, with 80% share of total supplies, and Rosoboronexport, Russia's state-controlled arms exporter earlier said it was looking to strengthen its positions on markets in Latin America.

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