Friday, August 21, 2009

Israel Says Russia May Reconsider Plans to Sell Missiles to Iran

The New York Times, By Ellen Barry (19/8/2009)

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, right, shakes hands with Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres, left. AP Photo.

MOSCOW — The Israeli president, Shimon Peres, said Wednesday that his Russian counterpart, Dmitri A. Medvedev, had promised to reconsider Russia’s plans to provide advanced surface-to-air missiles to Iran, a deal that Washington has also sought to halt.

The missiles would offer Iran considerable confidence that it could prevent airstrikes on its nuclear sites...

Mr. Peres spoke about the missiles at a morning news conference in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, after talks with Mr. Medvedev there on Tuesday. He said Mr. Medvedev “gave a promise he will reconsider the sales of the S-300 because this affects the delicate balance which exists already in the Middle East, and will enforce, in my judgment, the aggressive intentions of Iran.”

Israel and many Western nations suspect that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon, while Iran says its nuclear program is solely for generating electricity. Israel has repeatedly raised the possibility of airstrikes to halt Iran’s nuclear progress.

Blocking the missile deal has been one of the United States’ goals in its pursuit of improved relations with Moscow...

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