Reprinted from NewsMax.com
RussiaSends Anti-U.S. Missile Defense toIran
Tuesday, Nov. 28,2006
Russia has begun delivery of an advanced air defense missilesystem to Iran that was designed to knock out Tomahawk cruisemissiles, sources in Iran tell NewsMax.
The first ship with equipment for the TOR M1 system, known inthe West as the SA-15 Gauntlet, arrived today at the Iranian port ofNow Shahr on the Caspian.
The Russian air defense system can detect targets at ranges upto 25 miles away, and attack several targets simultaneously.
In addition to its ability to engage incoming aircraft, themissile system was designed to attack battlefield drones, which theUnited States now uses widely to gather intelligence. The system'sradar can detect and target "precision-guided weapons and varioustypes of guided missiles," according to the Federation of AmericanScientists.
This ability to hit U.S.-made Tomahawk cruise missiles was whatconvinced Tehran to buy the system, Iranian military analyst HomayounMoghaddam told NewsMax.
Russia's state-owned arms export agency, Rosoboronexport, announcedthe sale to Iran of 29 TOR M1 systems, worth $700 million, lastDecember.
Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov rejected criticism of the Iranarms deal in an interview that appeared today in the Germannewsweekly, Der Spiegel.
"Every country is allowed to deliver arms to another as long asit is not evading any sanctions in doing so," Ivanov said. "We areselling only a limited range of defensive weapons. The Tor-M1 airdefense system, for example, has no influence on the balance of powerin the region because it only has a range of up to 40 kilometers," or25 miles.
Russian president Boris Yeltsin pledged to President Clinton inthe mid-1990s that Russia would conclude no new arms agreements withIran, after deliveries under a 1989 deal to sell MiG-29 and Su-27aircraft signed were completed.
But in 2000, President Putin said that Russia had changed itsmind and would sell more weapons to Iran, while pledging not tointroduce new systems that would alter the "balance of power in theregion."
The TOR M1 is a massive system, designed to protect a largebattlefield area at the division level, and can be integrated into anational air defense network.
A single system includes four tracked launch vehicles, eachcarrying eight ready-to-fire missiles and its own Doppler firecontrol radar. Each battery is controlled by a "Rangir" commandvehicle.
In addition to the 96 armored launch vehicles, and the commandvehicles, the contract involves the delivery of more than 300 trucksand specialized vehicles, radar, and other supplies.
The Russian deliveries are expected to stretch over the nexttwo months or so, Iranian sources told NewsMax. Iran has said itexpects the system to be operational in a year from delivery.
Kenneth R. Timmerman
President, Middle East Data Project, Inc.
Author: Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown withIran
Contributing editor: Newsmax.com
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