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Iran Said Seeking Russian Cruise Missiles Ahead Of Weapons Ban Expiration

A Russian cruise missile is test-fired over the Barents Sea.

Iran is already negotiating to buy cruise missiles from Russia and is likely to make other major weapons purchases when a UN ban on selling Iran sophisticated weapons expires in 2020, a U.S. intelligence report finds.

The report last month by the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, obtained by Bloomberg News and released on March 3, says that Iran will likely go shopping for new warships, submarines, and antiship missiles once this major sanction imposed by the United Nations is lifted under Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The expiration of the conventional weapons ban "will allow Iran to pursue foreign acquisitions that have been inaccessible" for years, the report says.

Apparently in anticipation of the ban being lifted, it says Iran is already negotiating with Russia to acquire the SS-N-26 Yakhont coastal-defense cruise missile.

The report says most of Tehran's weapons are currently made in Iran and are inferior in quality and performance to weapons manufactured in Russia, China, and the West.

Even so, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp navy has regularly confronted U.S. warships sailing in international waters off Iran's coast, prompting vows of a tough response from President Donald Trump.

Based on reporting by Bloomberg