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Russia Says Won't Supply S-300 Missiles To Iran, But Will Supply Syria

An S-300 antiaircraft missile system
An S-300 antiaircraft missile system
A Russian defense official says Moscow has no plans to supply S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems to Iran.

Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told journalists on March 13 that restrictions on military-technical cooperation with Iran imposed by the United Nations Security Council prevented Russia from providing S-300 systems to Tehran.

The S-300 is regarded as one of the most sophisticated and effective antiaircraft missile systems in the world, and Iran has reportedly sought to obtain it from Moscow for years.

Antonov added that Russia's leadership, in compliance with UN Security Council resolutions, has introduced several restrictions to military-technical cooperation with Iran.

Antonov offered assurances that the restrictions are being strictly implemented, and Moscow has not violated any sanctions regime against Tehran.

However, Antonov added that Moscow would not stop military cooperation with Syria --despite calls from Western states to stop arming President Bashar al-Assad's regime during its ongoing deadly crackdown against antiregime rebels.

He said Russia, one of Syria's last powerful allies, would honor existing contracts to deliver weapons to Damascus.

On March 13, Human Rights Watch accused Syrian forces of setting mines near the borders of Lebanon and Turkey, along routes used by refugees to escape the conflict.

Human Rights Watch said Syria's stockpile is believed to consist mainly of Soviet or Russian-manufactured mines.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated on March 13 that some 230,000 Syrians have fled their homes since the beginning of the violence one year ago.

With AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters, ITAR-TASS, and Interfax reporting

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