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Russia State Arms Trader Declines Comment On Iran Deal


The S-300 air-defense system
MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia's state arms trader has declined to say if it will go ahead with a deal to sell S-300 antiaircraft systems to Iran, a sore point in Moscow's relations with the United States and Israel.

"I just don't quite understand why supplies of the S-300 system to Iran trouble you so much," the head of Rosoboronexport, Anatoly Isaikin, replied during a press briefing after being repeatedly asked about the deal.

Isaikin added that its weapons exports this year will be no lower than last year's total of $7.4 billion, and that its portfolio of export orders for upcoming years exceeds $34 billion.

Russia is under intense Western pressure to distance itself from Iran in the long-running dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but Moscow has refused to block the delivery of the S-300 system.

Israel says the S-300 systems could be used by Tehran to defend Iranian nuclear facilities against potential air strikes.

Isaikin said journalists must be guided by last year's statements made by other Russian officials. "From my part, I just want to say I have nothing to add to these statements."