Russia will deliver up to 30 short-range Tor-M1 air defense systems to Iran between 2006 and 2008, Interfax reported, citing an unidentified defense industry source.
On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry indirectly confirmed the agreement, characterizing the weapons as "exclusively defensive" and in compliance with international agreements.
While they agreed that the tactical Tor-M1 system would pose no threat to Iran's arch-enemies -- Israel and the United States -- defense analysts said the anti-aircraft system would be well-positioned to ward off an air attack on the Bushehr nuclear reactor, which Russia is helping to build. Washington suspects that Iran is using its civilian nuclear program as a guise for developing nuclear weapons.
Nicholas Burns, the visiting U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, said on Friday that he had asked the Russian Foreign Ministry for an explanation for the deal.
"For 25 years, Iran has supported terrorists in the Middle East, and that is why we have very bad relations with them. You can understand why we do not support the sales of weapons to such a country," he said in remarks translated into Russian on radio station Ekho Moskvy
Monday, December 05, 2005
Deal Is Signed
From the Moscow Times, confirmation of the signing of a $1 billion arms deal between Russian and Iran: