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    Russia will deliver air defense systems to Iran - top general

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    "We discussed supplies of military equipment to Iran, including the Tor M1, in the framework of bilateral cooperation, but it does not fall into the category of strategic weapons," Army General Yury Baluyevsky said after talks in Moscow with NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe General James Jones.

    MOSCOW, April 19 (RIA Novosti) - The chief of the General Staff said Wednesday that Russia would honor its commitments on supplying military equipment to Iran.

    "We discussed supplies of military equipment to Iran, including the Tor M1, in the framework of bilateral cooperation, but it does not fall into the category of strategic weapons," Army General Yury Baluyevsky said after talks in Moscow with NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe General James Jones.

    "And I can assure you it will be delivered under the control of the relevant organizations," he said.

    At the end of 2005, Russia concluded a $700-million contract on the delivery of 29 Tor M1 air defense systems to Iran.

    Зенитно-ракетный комплекс ТОР-М1The Tor-M1 is a fifth-generation integrated mobile air defense system designed for operation at medium, low and very low altitudes against fixed/rotary wing aircraft, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle), guided missiles and other high-precision weapons.

    Despite strong criticism from the United States, Russia has maintained that the systems could be used only to protect Iran's air space.

     

    Baluyevsky also said Russia's Armed Forces would not be involved in any military conflict in Iran.

    "I do not think the conflict [in Iran] will turn into a war," he said. "Russia will not propose the use of its armed forces in a potential military conflict on either side."

    Baluyevsky said he did not discuss the Iranian nuclear program with Jones, although the issue is "on everybody's mind."

    Meanwhile, Iran's Defense Minister, Mostafa Mohammad-Najar, said Wednesday that his country would go ahead with its non-military nuclear research because it was a legitimate right of the Iranian people.

    The Iranian official is currently on a three-day visit to the neighboring Central Asian republic of Azerbaijan to discuss bilateral cooperation in the defense sphere.

    Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will attend a summit of Economic Cooperation Organization, a regional cooperation body, in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, on May 4-5.

    Iran: a cradle of mankind, home to one of world’s most powerful historical empires and one of Asia’s most original national identities (33 photos).


     

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