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- Russia's Lavrov calls on Israel, Iran to normalize ties
MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has no plans to stop military cooperation with Iran, a federal military cooperation body said on Thursday.
The statement comes amid media reports that Russia could cancel a contract to deliver S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Tehran.
"Russia is resolved to continue military and technical cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran in strict compliance with existing laws and its international obligations," a spokesman for the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation told RIA Novosti.
However, he refused to comment on "specific plans or obligations under existing contracts."
An unnamed defense industry official said on Wednesday that Russia would sustain significant losses if it decides to tear up the contract for S-300 systems.
Russian military analyst Konstantin Makiyenko previously said a decision not to go ahead with the contract would cost Russia about $1 billion in lost profits plus $300-400 million in fines and penalties.
The defense industry official stressed that the S-300 systems were defensive weapons.
Reports of possible deliveries of S-300 missiles to Iran have aroused concerns in the West and in Israel.
Iranian media, citing senior security officials, have reported that Russia has started delivering elements of the advanced version of the S-300 missile under a 2005 contract. However, Russian arms industry officials have invariably denied such reports.
The latest version of the S-300 family is the S-300PMU2 Favorit, which has a range of up to 195 kilometers (about 120 miles) and can intercept aircraft and ballistic missiles at altitudes from 10 meters to 27 kilometers.
It is considered one of the world's most effective all-altitude regional air defense systems, comparable in performance to the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot system.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.