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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran Urges Russia to Resist Arms Sale Pressure

Iran urged Russia on Tuesday not to bow to Western pressure over the sale of a Russian missile defense system to the Islamic republic that could protect its nuclear facilities from air strikes.

Russia is under intense Western pressure to distance itself from Iran in a dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme, but has refused to rule out delivering the S-300 anti-aircraft system.

Iranian officials have expressed growing irritation at Russia's failure so far to supply the S-300, which Israel and the United States do not want Tehran to have.

"Iran expects Russia not to be influenced and pressured by other countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference.

"We hope this issue will reach a conclusion in the framework of our agreements," he said.

Analysts say the S-300 could help Iran thwart any attempt by Israel or the United States — both of which have refused to rule out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve a dispute over Iran's nuclear development — to bomb its nuclear facilities.

The truck-mounted S-300, known in the West as the SA-20, can shoot down cruise missiles and aircraft. It has a range of 150 kilometers and travels at more than two kilometers per second.

Washington is seeking support from Russia for tougher UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, which the West suspects is intended to produce nuclear weapons. Tehran says it is for power generation only.

Israel has hinted that it could attack Iran in an effort to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran has threatened to retaliate for any attack by firing missiles at Israel, which is believed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal.