Russia to sell more air defence systems to Iran

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Moscow, Sep 18 (UNI) Russian state arms export agency Rosoboronexport's General Director Anatoly Isaikin today said Moscow was negotiating the delivery of more air defence systems to Iran despite Western demands for a halt of sales to Tehran over its refusal to stop uranium enrichment.

''Contacts between our countries on delivery of air defence systems are continuing and we do not see any reason to suspend them,'' Mr Isaikin told RIA Novosti.

He was speaking to mediapersons at the Africa Aerospace and Defence-2008 exhibition near Cape Town in South Africa.

Mr Isaikin reiterated that deliveries of Russian anti-aircraft weaponry to Iran were aimed exclusively at increasing its air defence capability and were not subject to international restrictions.

Russia recently supplied 29 Tor-M1 air defence missile systems under a 700 million-dollar-contract signed in 2005.

Russia has also trained Iranian Tor-M1 specialists, including radar operators and crew commanders.

Washington and Tel Aviv have expressed alarm over media reports on the possible delivery of S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran, as these systems could greatly improve Iranian defences against any air strike on its strategically important sites, including nuclear facilities.

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

Tehran has conducted several high-profile war games this year, including a three-day series of Air Force and missile defence exercises on September 15-18, while promising swift retaliation in the event of any act of aggression against Iran.

UNI XC SKB PM1430

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