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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Israel fails to stop S-300 deal with Iran?

Tue, 14 Apr 2009 09:51:26 GMT | PressTV

Russia shrugs off Israeli opposition to the sale of an anti-aircraft system that would shield Iranian nuclear plants in the event of war.

Earlier in April, Israel used the sale of sophisticated $50 million spy drones as a bargaining chip to dissuade the Kremlin from equipping Iran with the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile system.

According to Israeli sources on Monday, Moscow has been rather shady on the issue so far and has not taken the required steps to address Tel Aviv's concern.

The most we have at this point is "a vague assurance" that the deal is not going ahead, an Israeli source told Reuters on conditions of anonymity.

"The Russians don't make promises of this kind," said another Israeli defense source while criticizing Russia's mixed message on its alleged $800 million deal with Iran.

Moscow walked a tightrope of criticism after Russia's state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport confirmed in December that it is supplying Iran with a number of defensive systems -- one of which was the S-300 interceptor.

The S-300 missile defense system is capable of intercepting 100 ballistic missiles or aircraft at once, at low and high altitudes within a range of over 150 kilometers.

Washington and Tel Aviv responded angrily to the delivery of the S-300 which, according to Israeli and American intelligence sources, would make Iran's nuclear facilities difficult to reach in the face of an Israeli attack.

Tehran decided to purchase the sophisticated system following an escalation in Israeli military threats against the country's nuclear infrastructure.

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