Thursday, November 11, 2010

Iran To Test S-300 Missiles Despite Russia

Iran is to test its own homemade S-300 ground-to-air missiles, built in defiance of ally Russia, which backed out of a deal to supply the device, a top Iranian military commander said on Nov. 10.

"Very soon we will test long-range aerial defense missiles, including Iranian S-300s," Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hassan Mansourian told the state news agency IRNA.

In September, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree banning supplies of S-300 missiles and other arms to Iran.

Russia came under strong U.S. and Israeli pressure not to go ahead with the sale of the weapons system, which was seen as complicating any military action against Iran over its controversial nuclear program.

Both Israel and the U.S. have refused to rule out resorting to military action to prevent Iran acquiring what they suspect is nuclear weapons capability, an ambition Tehran strongly denies.

Mansourian hit out at Russia for succumbing under the pressure of "American and Zionist regime."

"In order to provide for part of our security needs ... we wanted to buy S-300 from Russia," the general said.

"But this country (Russia) used the (U.N. sanctions) Resolution 1929 as a pretext in order to refuse the handing over of this defense weapon to us," he said.

The U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1929 on June 9, in a fourth set of sanctions against Iran for pursuing its nuclear program.

Top Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have lashed out at Russia for canceling the S-300 deal. Russia had "sold out" Iran to its arch-foe, the U.S., the president charged last week.

Russia, which has been a strong ally of Iran and built the Islamic republic's first nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr, said it would reimburse Tehran for its down payments on the deal.

The contract was estimated to be worth a total of $800 million (572 million euros).

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