Russia still eyeing S-300 sale to Iran

Nov. 12, 2009 at 1:54 PM

MOSCOW, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Moscow officials Thursday downplayed Western pressures over the possible sale of the S-300 missile defense system to Iran.

Russia and Iran signed a contract in 2005 for the sale of the S-300 missile defense system, though developments on the delivery have since stalled.

Konstantin Biryulin, deputy director for Russia's federal service for military-technical cooperation, said the matter was still under consideration despite mounting Western pressure over dealing with Iran, RIA Novosti reports.

"The issue of S-300 deliveries is still under discussion," he said.

Speculation circulated that Moscow scrapped the deal following a decision from Washington to abandon plans to place its missile defense shields in Eastern Europe.

It was also reported that Saudi Arabia offered Moscow $2.8 billion in military purchases if the Kremlin walked away from the Iranian deal.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of the national security and foreign policy committee in the Iranian Parliament, said last week that any hesitation on the deal ran counter to bilateral interests.

Biryulin, the report said, downplayed the pressures, saying, "Russia has the right to decide on its own whether to deliver these systems to any country which is not under the U.N. Security Council's sanctions."

The S-300V system, NATO codename SA-12 Giant, can engage multiple targets simultaneously and shoot down aircraft and missiles at a range of around 100 miles.

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