Russia has begun deliveries of the Tor-M1 air defence rocket system to Iran, Russian news agencies quoted military industry sources as saying, in the latest sign of a Russian-US rift over Iran.
“Deliveries of the Tor-M1 have begun. The first systems have already been delivered to Tehran,” ITAR-TASS quoted an unnamed, high-ranking source as saying Friday.
The United States has pressed Russia to halt military sales to Iran, which Washington accuses of harbouring secret plans to build a nuclear weapon.
Moscow has consistently defended its weapons trade with Iran. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said the contract for 29 rocket systems, signed in December last year, was legitimate because the Tor-M1 has a purely defensive role.
ITAR-TASS reported that the rockets were to be deployed around Iran’s nuclear sites, including the still incomplete, Russian-built atomic power station at Bushehr.