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Russia offers Iran new missiles despite sanctions

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A Ria Novosti photo

MOSCOW (AFP): Russia has offered Iran advanced surface-to-air missiles after scrapping a similar deal in 2010 because of UN sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme, the state defence company has said.

Any such a deal is likely to go down badly in Washington as Western countries seek to keep up the pressure on Iran to agree a comprehensive deal on its nuclear activities.

Sergei Chemezov, head of the Rostec corporation which manages Russia's defence industry, on Monday said Moscow has offered to supply Antey-2500 missiles, an upgraded version of the S-300 air defence system that figured in the previous contract.

"We have offered them the Antey-2500," Chemezov was quoted as saying by RIA-Novosti news agency. But he added: "The decision has not been made yet."

Moscow signed a contract in 2007 to deliver S-300 missiles to Iran worth USD 800 million.

The deal was intensely criticised by the United States and Israel, and Moscow later dropped it as being in breach of UN sanctions.

A UN resolution adopted in 2010 bans the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of missiles or missiles systems.

Chemezov said the Antey-2500 is a more modern version of the S-300, which Russia no longer makes. The same surface-to-air missiles were reportedly delivered to Venezuela in 2013.

Now under Western sanctions itself over the conflict in Ukraine, Russia -- a permanent member of the UN Security Council -- has strengthened its alliance with Iran.

During a visit to Tehran by Russia's defence minister last month, the two countries signed a military cooperation agreement touted as a joint response to US "interference".

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Russia  Iran  Missile  Military  
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