This 700-million-dollar transaction is said to
become Russia's largest deal since 2000.
Russia intends to sell 29 Tor M-1 defence systems,
(capable of downing cruise missiles and other air attack missiles)
to Iran. The Vedomosti newspaper wrote with reference to an anonymous
manager of a defence enterprise. According to the newspaper, the
contract on the matter has already been signed.
Tor is a solely defensive weapon, which intercepts
cruise missiles. Journalists contacted the management of the Kupol
(Dome) enterprise, which manufactures Tor anti-missile systems,
although they failed to obtain a confirmation of the above-mentioned
A source from the air defence industry said that
it goes about the sale of 29 Tor M-1 anti-missile complexes on
the same basis as a previous Greek order. Greece purchased 21
systems and was intended to acquire 29 more, but later cancelled
the order. Experts evaluate the Iranian contract at the sum of
Mikhail Barabanov, an editor with Export of Arms
magazine, said that the contract to sell 29 Tor M-1 air defence
systems to Iran is the largest extrenal transaction in Russia
since 2000. In 2000, Russia pulled out from the secret agreement
with the USA about restricted arms deliveries to Iran. The document
was known as the Gore-Chernomyrdin Protocol. Moscow undertook
not to strike any defence deals with Iran. In return, the USA
promised to help Russia enter the international market of defence
technologies. The promise was not kept, though.
"When Russia pulled out from the secret
agreement with the USA, we expected Iran to become Russia's largest
importer after China and India. However, the weapons, which Iran
purchased from Russia during the following five years, were valued
at $300-400 million. At the time, the Iranian administration thought
that Russia would not be able to run a US-independent defence
policy after dropping out of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Protocol,"
Mikhail Barabanov said.
"The transaction is not supposed to raise
concerns with the US administration. Tor systems are tactical
weapons. The deal should therefore be perceived as a commercial
operation first and foremost," Vagif Guseinov, the Director
of the Institute of Strategic Estimations and Analysis said. Iran
needs to defend the atomic power plant in Bushehr, which is currently
being built with Russia's participation. Israel may strike a preventive
blow on Iran's nuclear object in Bushehr: Israeli officials have
confirmed such a possibility on several occasions.