The tests were part of military exercises that began in southern Iran Wednesday after Russia completed the delivery of 29 TOR-M1 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran in late January under a $700 million contract signed at the end of 2005.
Russia's weapons supplies alarmed the United States, which imposed new sanctions on the Russian government's official arms dealer Rosoboronexport and on two other companies for the sale of TOR-M1 to the Islamic Republic. Rosoboronexport faced sanctions for arms sales to Iran and Syria twice last year.
Russian authorities responded by saying the contract with Iran on TOR-M1 did not violate any international regulations and pursued purely defensive goals.
"The contract was clinched in accordance with international law," the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation said. "The contract is for defensive weapons, which cannot be used for offensive purposes a priori."
Russia's Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said last week that Russia did not export weapons that could undermine stability in troubled regions.
"Armaments we export are intended exclusively for defense. This applies to Iran," he said. "These are not offensive weapons, and they neither pose any threat to neighbors nor can they destabilize the situation in the region."
The TOR-M1, developed by the Russian company Almaz-Antei, is a high-precision missile system designed to destroy aircraft, manned or unmanned, and cruise missiles flying at an altitude of up to 10 kilometers (6 miles). It was introduced at the Russian aerospace show MAKS in 2005. Each system is equipped with eight short-range missiles, associated radars, fire control systems and a battery command post.
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If attempts to drag Russia into a direct military conflict in Ukraine are successful, it would be a catastrophe for Russia comparable to the 1979-1989 Afghan war. There is no direct evidence that the US is trying to bring about a second Afghan war, but indirect evidence abounds.