Thursday, January 28, 2010

Russia Free to Sell Weapons to Iran :Russia's State Arms Exporter

There is nothing to stop Russia from selling military equipment to Iran, the head of Russia's state-run arms exporter said on Thursday.'Nothing prevents the continuation of military cooperation in those directions of interest to Russia and Iran," Rosoboronexport's Anatoly Isaikin told a RIA Novosti news conference."Iran has never violated a single commitment it has undertaken with regard to military contracts," he said.

Russia signed a contract with Iran on the supply of S-300 air defense systems to Tehran in December 2005. However, there have been no official reports on the start of the contract's implementation.Western powers are angered by Iran's failure to give a constructive response to proposals made by a group of international mediators on its controversial nuclear program. Washington and Tel Aviv have refused to rule out military action over the issue, and on Wednesday U.S. President Barack Obama warned the Islamic Republic's leaders that they would face "growing consequences" over their refusal to fulfill their "obligations".

Both the U.S. and Israel have expressed concern over the possibility of S-300 deliveries to Iran, which would significantly strengthen the country's air defenses.Although Russia has traditionally had close ties to Iran, including in nuclear energy through the construction of the Bushehr power plant, it is seen as having moved closer to the U.S. position on imposing new sanctions.Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Iran on Wednesday that "it is impossible to wait forever" and that Russia's partners "are already talking about the need to discuss further steps at the UN Security Council."

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