Reprinted from NewsMax.com
Russia Sends Anti-U.S. Missile Defense to Iran
Tuesday, Nov. 28,
Russia has begun delivery of an advanced air defense missile system to Iran that was designed to knock out Tomahawk cruise missiles, sources in Iran tell NewsMax.
The first ship with equipment for the TOR M1 system, known in the West as the SA-15 Gauntlet, arrived today at the Iranian port of Now Shahr on the Caspian.
The Russian air defense system can detect targets at ranges up to 25 miles away, and attack several targets simultaneously.
In addition to its ability to engage incoming aircraft, the missile system was designed to attack battlefield drones, which the United States now uses widely to gather intelligence. The system's radar can detect and target "precision-guided weapons and various types of guided missiles," according to the Federation of American Scientists.
This ability to hit U.S.-made Tomahawk cruise missiles was what convinced Tehran to buy the system, Iranian military analyst Homayoun Moghaddam told NewsMax.
Russia's state-owned arms export agency, Rosoboronexport, announced the sale to Iran of 29 TOR M1 systems, worth $700 million, last December.
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov rejected criticism of the Iran arms deal in an interview that appeared today in the German newsweekly, Der Spiegel.
"Every country is allowed to deliver arms to another as long as it is not evading any sanctions in doing so," Ivanov said. "We are selling only a limited range of defensive weapons. The Tor-M1 air defense system, for example, has no influence on the balance of power in the region because it only has a range of up to 40 kilometers," or 25 miles.
Russian president Boris Yeltsin pledged to President Clinton in the mid-1990s that Russia would conclude no new arms agreements with Iran, after deliveries under a 1989 deal to sell MiG-29 and Su-27 aircraft signed were completed.
But in 2000, President Putin said that Russia had changed its mind and would sell more weapons to Iran, while pledging not to introduce new systems that would alter the "balance of power in the region."
The TOR M1 is a massive system, designed to protect a large battlefield area at the division level, and can be integrated into a national air defense network.
A single system includes four tracked launch vehicles, each carrying eight ready-to-fire missiles and its own Doppler fire control radar. Each battery is controlled by a "Rangir" command vehicle.
In addition to the 96 armored launch vehicles, and the command vehicles, the contract involves the delivery of more than 300 trucks and specialized vehicles, radar, and other supplies.
The Russian deliveries are expected to stretch over the next two months or so, Iranian sources told NewsMax. Iran has said it expects the system to be operational in a year from delivery.
Original article: http://newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/11/27/172003.shtml?s=sr
Kenneth R. Timmerman
President, Middle East Data Project, Inc.
Author: Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran
Contributing editor: Newsmax.com
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