Saturday February 20, 2010
Russia says to supply Iran S-300 missiles - Ifax
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia intends to fulfil a contract to supply S-300 air defence missile systems to Iran, Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Friday.
Israel and the United States have repeatedly asked Russia to scrap a contract to sell Iran the truck-mounted S-300, which can shoot down hostile missiles or aircraft up to 150 km (90 miles) away.
"There is a contract to supply these systems to Iran, and we will fulfil it," Ryabkov told Interfax in an interview. "Delays (with deliveries) are linked to technical problems with adjusting these systems," he added.
He also cautioned against politicising Russia's arms exports to Iran.
"It is absolutely incorrect to put the emphasis on the issue of S-300 supplies... and to turn it into a major problem, to say nothing of linking it to the discussion on restoring trust in the purely peaceful character of Iran's nuclear programme," Ryabkov said.
The possible sale of the S-300s, which could protect Iran's nuclear facilities against air strikes, is an extremely sensitive issue in Russia's relations with Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow this week to press the Kremlin to back tougher sanctions against Iran.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Dmitry Solovyov)
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