TEHRAN WANTS TO DEFEND ITSELF AGAINST RAPTORS

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Contradictory reports on Russian arms sales to Iran

Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov held talks yesterday with Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, the defense minister of Iran. They discussed “bilateral relations issues concerning military ministries and agencies.” There are a number of points behind this vague wording – including deliveries of Russian arms systems to Iran.


Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov held talks yesterday with Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, the defense minister of Iran. They discussed “bilateral relations issues concerning military ministries and agencies.” There are a number of points behind this vague wording – including deliveries of Russian arms systems to Iran.

This visit was accompanied by some strange and mutually exclusive statements.

A press release issued by Iran before the visit said: “The main purpose of the visit is to expand bilateral relations and implement earlier bilateral agreements in the field of military technology.” The Iranian media were even more categorical, claiming that Russia had started supplying Iran with parts for S-300 air defense systems, and these weapons would now be added to the Iranian Armed Forces.

Russia chose to take a different stance when greeting its guest. The Federal Military Technology Cooperation Service officially stated: “Reports of S-300 air defense systems being supplied to Iran are untrue.” This was repeated by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who said that Russia is developing military technology cooperation with Iran quite transparently and in compliance with international law.

The Russian-arms-to-Iran situation has always been very strange, if not downright scandalous. For example, Tehran has repeatedly played up its agreements with Moscow on deliveries of Russian Tor-M1 air defense missile systems. The latest round of declarations about S-300 deliveries can be attributed not only to the Iranian defense minister’s Russia visit, but also to reports of American F-22 Raptor and F-35 fifth-generation fighters being supplied to Israel. So Tehran has decided to use its capabilities for some speculation. After all, the latest S-300 models are capable of destroying enemy aircraft at a range of up to 150 kilometers and altitudes of up to 27 kilometers (the Tor-M1 can shoot down a plane at a range of 12 kilometers and an altitude of six kilometers).

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