Russia sells Iran new missiles
despite American objections

The Associated Press-Al Jazeera

MOSCOW — Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Tuesday that Russia had sent air defense missiles to Iran, the first high-level confirmation that their delivery took place despite U.S. objections.

Ivanov did not specify how many missile systems had been delivered, but a ministry official speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject said not all the systems contracted for had been delivered.

Ivanov said Russia has delivered new anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran and that it will consider more requests from Tehran for defensive weapons.

Ivanov said that Russia had supplied Iran with the modern short-range anti-aircraft systems TOR-M1. He did not say how many of its TOR-M1 missile system had been delivered.

"We're developing our military and technical co-operation with Iran in accordance with international law and will continue to develop it," Ivanov said.

"And if Iran wants to buy defensive, I underline defensive, equipment for its armed forces, then why not?"

The U.S. has accused Iran of seeking to acquire nuclear arms and undermining security in the Middle East.

The UN has banned sensitive nuclear trade with Iran but there are no sanctions on conventional weapon deals.

U.S. reaction

"We don't think that it's an appropriate signal to be sending to the government of Tehran when they continue to be in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions," Tom Casey, a state department spokesman, said.

"We also believe as well that we certainly don't want to see any kind of lethal aid or assistance given to any country that's a state sponsor of terror. And as we've said, Iran is the leading state sponsor in the world."

Ivanov, also Russia's deputy prime minister, did not say how many missile systems had been delivered or when the deliveries took place.

Last year Russia dropped its plans to sell longer-range S300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, Russian news agencies reported.

The US at that time imposed sanctions on leading Russian arms firms over arms sales to Iran and Syria.