Russia says no plans to sell missile system to Iran

MOSCOW Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:01am EST

A Russian soldier stands near the Qabala radar station northwest of Baku June 30, 2007. Russia has no plans to sell its advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, a Russian government agency said on Friday. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

A Russian soldier stands near the Qabala radar station northwest of Baku June 30, 2007. Russia has no plans to sell its advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, a Russian government agency said on Friday.

Credit: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has no plans to sell its advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran, a Russian government agency said on Friday.

"The issue of supplying Iran with S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, raised by mass media, is not on the agenda, is not being considered and is not being discussed with the Iranian side at the moment," Russia's Federal Military and Technical Cooperation Service said on its Web site.

Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said on Wednesday Russia had agreed to sell the system to Iran.

"The S-300 system, under a contract signed in the past with Russia, will be delivered to Iran," Najjar told Fars News Agency, without giving details. "The timing of the delivery ... will be announced later," he added.

S-300 missiles are longer-ranging than the TOR-M1 surface-to-air missiles which Russia, in a deal criticized by the West, earlier this year said it had delivered to the Islamic Republic under a $1 billion contract.

The United States and Israel -- Tehran's arch foes -- have said Iran could use the Tor-M1 system to attack its neighbors. Russia says the short-range system is purely defensive.

Iran is under U.N. sanctions over its refusal to halt sensitive atomic work that Western powers suspect it wants to master so that it can build nuclear bombs, but they do not ban conventional weapons sales to the Islamic Republic.

"Russia and Iran continue their civilized relationship in the sphere of military and technical cooperation, respecting in full regulations of international export legislation and (their) international obligations," the Russian federal agency said.

It gave no further detail.

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Mary Gabriel)

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