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Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov (file photo) (epa)
5 December 2005 -- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov today defended his country's decision to provide Iran with sophisticated missile defense systems.
Ivanov said the sale of the Tor-M1 missile systems to Iran did not violate international law and would not upset the balance of power in the Middle East.
Russian media reported last week that Iran had agreed to purchase close to 30 mobile air defense systems from Russia in a contract worth more than $700 million.
Israel yesterday criticized the sale, saying it serves the interests of the "most negative elements" in the Middle East. Israel considers Iran the biggest threat to its security in the region.
Tor-M1 missiles are short-range, surface-to-air missiles capable of shooting down both missiles and aircraft.