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Iran Test-Fires Russian Air Defence Missiles

An image grab taken from footage shown by the Iranian Al-Alam TV shows Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards firing a new Russian-made air defence missile system at an unidentified location in Iran, 07 February 2007. Iran's Revolutionary Guards today successfully test-fired the new TOR-M1 air defence missile system, whose delivery last month sparked bitter US criticism. The test-firing of the surface-to-air missiles, on the first of two days of war games by the Guards' air force and naval divisions, comes amid mounting tensions with the West over the Iranian nuclear programme. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Farhad Pouladi
Tehran (AFP) Feb 07, 2007
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday successfully test-fired a new Russian-made air defence missile system, whose delivery last month sparked bitter US criticism. The test-firing of the surface-to-air missiles, on the first of two days of war games by the Guards' air force and naval divisions, comes amid mounting tensions with the West over the Iranian nuclear programme.

Iranian state television showed several missiles from the TOR-M1 system being fired in the desert from mobile vehicle launchers and then successfully taking out their targets in the sky.

"We have successfully test-fired the new modern TOR-M1 defence system, within the framework of the Revolutionary Guards defence doctrine based on a military strategy of deterrence," Revolutionary Guards air force commander Hossein Salami was quoted as telling the ISNA news agency.

"The Iranian armed forces have added the new missile system to its defences to consolidate its defence capabilities," he said.

Russia only completed the delivery of the missiles in January. Tehran and Moscow in 2005 signed a contract for the purchase of 29 TOR-M1 missile systems estimated to be worth 700 million dollars (540 million euros).

The United States had urged Russia to cancel the sale, saying it was a mistake when the UN Security Council had imposed sanctions against Iran's ballistic missile industry as part of measures against its nuclear drive.

"We don't think that it's an appropriate signal to be sending ... particularly when they are under UN sanctions for trying to develop a nuclear weapon, and when they continue to be in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions," deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey said in January.

Russia has significant economic interests in Iran and succeeded in watering down the December Security Council resolution against Tehran, limiting it to targetted sanctions against the Iranian nuclear and ballistics industries.

Salami said that the "agile and very accurate" TOR-M1 system has a 12 kilometre (7.2 mile) range that could be increased to 20 kilometres (12 miles).

"The TOR-M1 is capable of confronting small aircraft, aircraft with high manoeuvre and speed abilities and cruise missiles, and in less than a second it is ready to spot and be launched again," he said.

"This system can hit targets accurately and is able to immune itself against diversions carried out by radars and be successful in electronic war."

Iran's leaders have repeatedly said the country's armed forces are ready for any eventuality in the current standoff with the West over its nuclear programme.

Although the United States has said it wants the standoff solved through diplomacy, Washington has never ruled out military action to thwart Iran's atomic drive.

The United States accuses Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, a charge vehemently denied by Tehran which insists its atomic programme is peaceful in nature.

Source: Agence France-Presse

related report
Iran Successfully Tests Russian TOR-M1 Missiles
Tehran (RIA Novosti) Feb 08 - Iran has successfully tested the TOR-M1 air defense missile system recently supplied by Russia, the Iranian news agency ISNA said, citing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps responsible for national nuclear forces.

The tests were part of military exercises that began in southern Iran Wednesday after Russia completed the delivery of 29 TOR-M1 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran in late January under a $700 million contract signed at the end of 2005.

Russia's weapons supplies alarmed the United States, which imposed new sanctions on the Russian government's official arms dealer Rosoboronexport and on two other companies for the sale of TOR-M1 to the Islamic Republic. Rosoboronexport faced sanctions for arms sales to Iran and Syria twice last year.

Russian authorities responded by saying the contract with Iran on TOR-M1 did not violate any international regulations and pursued purely defensive goals.

"The contract was clinched in accordance with international law," the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation said. "The contract is for defensive weapons, which cannot be used for offensive purposes a priori."

Russia's Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said last week that Russia did not export weapons that could undermine stability in troubled regions.

"Armaments we export are intended exclusively for defense. This applies to Iran," he said. "These are not offensive weapons, and they neither pose any threat to neighbors nor can they destabilize the situation in the region."

The TOR-M1, developed by the Russian company Almaz-Antei, is a high-precision missile system designed to destroy aircraft, manned or unmanned, and cruise missiles flying at an altitude of up to 10 kilometers (6 miles). It was introduced at the Russian aerospace show MAKS in 2005. Each system is equipped with eight short-range missiles, associated radars, fire control systems and a battery command post.

Source: RIA Novosti

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