Iran receives Russian air defense missiles, defense minister says

Iran has received a Russian air defense missile system, the Iranian defense minister said Wednesday.

Iran's announcement came as it launched three days of military maneuvers its first since the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions against it in late December.

"We have had constructive defense transactions with Russia and we purchased Tor M-1 missiles that were recently delivered to us," the official Web site of Iranian state television quoted Minister of Defense Mostafa Mohammad Najjar as saying.

Najjar did not say how many missiles were delivered or say when they arrived.

A Russian news agency on Tuesday quoted Sergei Chemezov, the head of the country's state-run weapons exporter, as saying that Russia had fulfilled a contract to sell air defense missiles to Iran.

Chemezov comments were reported by the Itar-Tass news agency in Bangalore, India, where he was on a visit along with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.

Previously Moscow said it would supply 29 of the sophisticated missile systems to Iran under a US$700 million contract signed in December 2005, Russian media has reported.

Last week, Ivanov said that at least some of the missiles had been sent.

The United States last year called for an international halt of arms exports to Iran, and for an end to nuclear cooperation Iran as a means of pressuring it to halt uranium enrichment. Israel has also criticized arms deals with Iran, reports AP.

Iran denies U.S. accusations that it is using its nuclear power program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons.

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