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Russia Vows To Pursue Defense Cooperation With Iran

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov (file photo) (epa) 13 January 2006 -- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov today said that his country will help Iran modernize its air defense systems as agreed last month despite the escalating dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

Under a $700 million contract signed in early December, Russia is to supply Iran with some 30 Tor-M1 ground-to-air missiles in the coming months.

Addressing reporters in Moscow, Ivanov -- who is also first deputy prime minister -- denied press reports that a Russian delegation was in Tehran recently to negotiate the sale of S-300 anti-ballistic missile systems.

"[These reports] do not correspond to reality. No military delegation went to Tehran, or to Iran in general. There haven't been such talks," Ivanov said.

Russia's "Kommersant" daily today said a military delegation had withdrawn from talks with Iran about the sale of S-300 systems after Tehran broke international seals on its uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz.

(compiled from agency reports)

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