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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iranian Military Is Ready to Give Arms to Friends

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran is ready to share its missile systems with friends and neighbors, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards said after he showed off missiles including some he said had cluster warheads.

Guards commander Yahya Safavi also told Iran's Al-Alam television late Sunday that the Guards had thousands of troops trained for suicide missions in case Iran was threatened, although he said any U.S. attack was unlikely.

The United States has said it wants to resolve a dispute over Iran's nuclear program by diplomatic means but has not ruled out the use of force. Washington believes Tehran is seeking to make atomic bombs, despite Iranian denials.

"We are able to give our missile systems to friendly and neighboring countries," Safavi told Al-Alam.

Iran's ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammed Reza Sheibani, was quoted Sunday as saying the Islamic Republic was ready to supply air-defense systems to the Lebanese military.

"Tehran also considers this as its duty to help friendly countries which are exposed to invasion of the Zionist regime [Israel]," Sheibani was quoted saying, in response to what he said was a request by Lebanon's army commander, General Michel Suleiman, for help from friendly states.

Iran funded and supplied Lebanon's Hezbollah militia in the 1980s, but now says its support is political and moral. The group used Iranian-made missiles fighting Israel this summer.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday that Moscow would only support sanctions against Iran if they were for a limited time and spelled out a clear mechanism for lifting them, Russian news agencies reported.

Russia proposed major amendments weakening a European draft resolution on Iran at the United Nations on Friday, saying it wanted sanctions limited to measures that would keep Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in order to leave the door open for negotiations.

Both Russia and China, which supported the Russian amendments, have major commercial ties with Iran, and Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, indicated that Moscow's draft dropped all reference to a $1 billion contract to build Iran's first nuclear power station.

Iran said Sunday that it preferred Russia's stance on its disputed nuclear despite Moscow's tacit support for sanctions on Iran.

"Russians' stance is better than other ... countries. They have a softer policy. Since the beginning, their stance was different," said Mohammed Ali Hosseini, spokesman of Iran's Foreign Ministry.

But Hosseini said the UN Security Council's push to impose sanctions on Tehran because it has refused to suspend uranium enrichment would delay any possible compromise with Iran.

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko arrived in Iran on Sunday for a two-day official visit accompanied by political and economic advisers, Kommersant reported.

Belarussian Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov said Lukashenko's visit was intended to strengthen ties between the two countries and kick off several large economic projects. "Iran and Belarus have similar views on international problems and their solution," Martynov noted.

(Reuters, AP)