Russia¹s Defense Minister Defends Arms Sales to Iran


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Russia¹s Defense Minister Defends Arms Sales to Iran

Created: 27.11.2006 11:56 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 12:46 MSK, 13 hours 58 minutes 


Russia¹s defense minister defended his country¹s sale of arms to Iran, saying in
an interview published Monday that air defense missile systems it is delivering 
will not upset the regional balance of power, The Associated Press reports.

Russia said on Friday that it had begun delivery of the Tor-M1 systems under a 
contract signed in December.³Every country is allowed to deliver arms to another
as long as it is not evading any sanctions in doing so,² Defense Minister Sergei
Ivanov was quoted as saying by the German weekly Der Spiegel.

³We are selling only a limited range of defensive weapons,² he added. ³The 
Tor-M1 air defense system, for example, has no influence on the balance of power
in the region because it only has a range of up to 40 kilometers,² or 25 miles.

The United States called on all countries last spring to stop all arms exports 
to Iran, as well as ending all nuclear cooperation with it to put pressure on 
Tehran to halt uranium enrichment activities. Israel, too, has severely 
criticized arms deals with Iran. Tehran insists its nuclear program is for 
peaceful purposes, but the United States and its allies suspect Iran is trying 
to develop weapons.

The Tor-M1 deal, involving conventional weapons, does not violate any 
international agreements. Russia also has a lucrative contract to build Iran¹s 
Bushehr nuclear power plant, which is nearly complete. Ivanov said he was 
³absolutely sure² that Iran would not be able to build a bomb using its 
technology, Der Spiegel reported.

³There is no enrichment in Bushehr,² he was quoted as saying. ³We are not 
delivering weapons-capable uranium, and the depleted fuel rods will be brought 
back to Russia.²

The UN Security Council, where Russia is a veto-wielding permanent member, is 
currently stalemated on the severity of sanctions that should be imposed on Iran
for defying its demand to cease uranium enrichment. ³As far as possible 
sanctions are concerned: they should on no account be all-embracing,² Ivanov 
said in the interview. ³Otherwise, Iran could go the way of North Korea and 
chase IAEA inspectors out of the country ‹ and, God forbid, leave the (Nuclear) 
Nonproliferation Treaty. Then no one will know what is going on in Iran.²

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