Geostrategy-Direct, www.geostrategy-direct.com, December 6, 2006
MOSCOW - Russia has confirmed the export of an advanced air defense system
to Iran after officials denied initial press reports of the shipment.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said his country's sale of the TOR-M1
mobile air defense system to Iran would not change the military balance in
the Middle East.
"We are selling only a limited range of defensive weapons," Ivanov said.
"The TOR-M1 air defense system, for example, has no influence on the balance
of power in the region because it only has a range of up to 40 kilometers."
On Nov. 24, Russian news agencies quoted officials as reporting starting
delivery of 29 TOR-M1 systems to Iran. On Nov. 27, the German weekly Der
Spiegel quoted Ivanov as confirming the deliveries.
"Every country is allowed to deliver arms to another as long as it is not
evading any sanctions in doing so," Ivanov said.
"Deliveries of the Tor-M1 have begun," the Moscow-based Itar-Tass news
agency quoted a Russian Defense Ministry official as saying on Nov. 24. "The
first systems have already been delivered to Teheran."
Neither the Defense Ministry nor the manufacturer of the TOR, Almaz Antey,
confirmed the initial report. The news agencies did not say how many systems
have been sent to Iran.
"I can affirm with 100 percent certainty that nothing of the kind has
happened." Nikolai Dimidyuk, delegation head of Russia's state-owned arms
agency Rosoboronexport, said at the IndoDefense exhibition in Jakarta on
TOR-M1 was developed for short- and medium-range detection and interception.
The system was designed to down manned, unmanned aircraft and cruise
missiles at a range of 12 kilometers. The system has a detection range of 40
In 2005, Iran and Russia signed a $700-million agreement for the TOR-M1.
Russian industry sources said the contract rose to $1.4 billion when Russia
agreed to provide additional radars and other advanced equipment.
In early November, Moscow pledged to deliver the first TOR systems over the
following weeks. Teheran had demanded the immediate delivery of the systems
to protect its nuclear facilities from Israeli or U.S. air strikes.
Sources said that with the expanded TOR project, Iran has become Russia's
No. 3 client, following China and India. In a separate development, the
Interfax news agency reported that Russian Atomic Energy Agency Director
Sergei Kiriyenko plans to visit Teheran on Dec. 11 to discuss additional
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
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