Russian AA missiles said delivered to Iran

Nov. 27, 2006 at 2:04 AM
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MOSCOW, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Russia reportedly began delivering its Tor M1 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran.

Russian media reports Friday said the 29 mobile systems were being supplied under a $700 million contract signed at the end of last year over the objections of the United States.

The RIA Novosti news agency said Friday that officials of the Russian arms exporting agency Rosoboronexport said in Tehran that they could not confirm that deliveries had indeed commenced.

Adding the Tor M1 comes at a propitious time for the Islamic nation which has been moving forward with its controversial nuclear development program despite accusations from the United States and other nations that it is a cover for a weapons program.

The situation has led to speculation over the possibility of a surprise air attack to knock out the nuclear installations.

The Tor M1 would no doubt complicate such plans. The mobile surface-to-air system is designed to intercept not only planes but helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and even low-flying cruise missiles. Analysts say the self-contained system is highly accurate and can operate amid heavy jamming from electronic warfare aircraft.

At the same, analysts contend that Iran's lack of a tight nationwide air-defense warning system reduces the effectiveness of the Tor M1 because it allows inbound attackers to fly routes that avoid it.

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