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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Diplomats: Belarus Negotiating Arms to Iran

Less than a month after Moscow bowed to U.S. pressure and pledged to end conventional-arms deliveries to Iran, Belarus is negotiating weapons sales to the Islamic republic, Western diplomats in Minsk have said.


Belarussian officials denied any arms sales and the U.S. State Department said it was aware of rumors of the sales but could not confirm them. One official said the rumors appeared to be false.


But the diplomats, as well as Russian, Belarussian and Western media reports, say the former Soviet republic is discussing sales of weapons and spare parts to Iran, despite a U.S. effort to persuade its allies to join its sanction campaign against Tehran.


Ukraine, which also has key factories from the former Soviet military complex, has also reportedly been talking to Iran about possible weapons sales.


The United States has been particularly concerned about stopping the sale of nuclear technology and missile systems to Iran but has also been trying to curtail sales of conventional military hardware.


Last month Moscow agreed to stop delivering air-to-ground missiles to Iran and to bring a quick end to its existing contracts to supply weapons to Iran.


Iranian First Vice President Hassan Habibi traveled to the Belarussian capital of Minsk last week and announced Friday that "we will buy conventional defensive weapons."