Report: Russia to Sell Arms to Iran, Venezuela

Russia turned up its nose at the United States Thursday by announcing plans to sell military equipment to both Iran and Venezuela.

The head of the state arms exporter said Russia was negotiating to sell new anti-aircraft systems to Iran despite American objections.

"Contacts between our countries are continuing and we do not see any reason to suspend them," Anatoly Isaikin, general director of Rosoboronexport, told Russian news agency Ria-Novosti at an arms fair in South Africa.

Reports have circulated for some time that Russia is preparing to sell its S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran, offering greater protection against a possible U.S. or Israeli attack on the Islamic republic's nuclear facilities. The missiles have a range of more than 93 miles and can intercept jets approaching at low altitudes.

Russia has already delivered 29 Tor-M1 missile systems under a $700 million deal with Iran in 2005.

Sergei Chemezov, the head of state-owned Russian Technologies also disclosed that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wanted to buy anti-aircraft systems, armored personnel carriers, and new SU-35 fighter jets when they come into production in 2010.

The U.S. plans to place an anti-missile shield in eastern Europe to deter surprise attacks from Iran have outraged Russia, which believes the system in Poland and the Czech Republic is aimed at weakening its defenses.

Click here for more on this story from the Times of London.