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Moscow Denounces U.S. Sanctions As 'Groundless' --> Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (right) inspects Kalashnikov assault rifles during his July visit to Russia (AFP) August 5, 2006 -- Russia has denounced as "groundless" the sanctions imposed by the United States on two Russian companies over their dealings with Iran.

The companies, Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi, were among seven foreign companies on which Washington imposed sanctions for selling material to Iran that could be used to make weapons of mass destruction.

Russia's Defense Ministry said the sanctions were apparently a U.S. reaction to the sale of Russian weapons to Venezuela.

Officials at Sukhoi, Russia's top manufacturer of fighter jets, said the company had not sold equipment to Iran since the 1990s.

Rosoboronexport said the company only shipped defensive weapons to Iran in conformity with international law.

Last month, Russia sold Venezuela military aircraft in a deal estimated at up to $3 billion. The United States, which has banned arms sales to Venezuela, strongly criticized the deal.

Iran's Nuclear Program

THE COMPLETE PICTURE: RFE/RL's complete coverage of controversy surrounding Iran's nuclear program.


An annotated timeline of Iran's nuclear program.