FROM JOSEPH FARAH’S G2 BULLETIN(WND)
Moscow sells Tehran 29 anti-missile systems, cites secret Al Gore agreement as justification
Tor M-1 anti-missile battery
WASHINGTON – Russia has signed a deal with Iran to sell 29 of its Tor M-1 anti-missile systems, a development that will complicate any planned pre-emptive attack on the rogue nation’s nuclear facilities, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The system would theoretically permit Iran to intercept some cruise missiles as well as airborne missiles that U.S., Israeli or other western countries might use in an effort to keep the terrorist-supporting nation from developing nuclear weapons or using them.
The sale was confirmed by a source at the Koupol military factory in Russia who claimed the deal would not violate any international agreement. That’s because Moscow made a secret 1995 agreement with Washington known as the Gore-Chernomyrdin protocol, which Russian officials believes permits continued military sales to Iran.
Russian sources say the Tor system is “a weapon of defense” and does not represent a danger to the U.S. as long as Washington does not attack Iran.
Another Russian source says Iran only seeks “to defend its nuclear thermal power station” that Moscow is building in Bushehr – set for completion in 2007.
Washington, meanwhile, along with European nations, claims Iran is attempting to develop offensive nuclear weapons under the pretense of civilian activities.
The purchase of the systems Tor M-1 would cost Iran more than $700 million, according to experts on the subject. They say the surface-to-air missiles are capable of knocking down cruise missiles and aircraft bombs launched against a target.
The Gore-Chernomyrdin protocol was first disclosed publicly in 2000. It was the result of secret talks between then Vice President Al Gore and Russia’s then-Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. After the revelations in 2000, the State Department acknowledged Gore assured Russia that, under the provisions of the agreement, the U.S. would not sanction the Kremlin for Russian arm sales to Iran – through 1999.
Critics of the agreement pointed out it was in violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the Iran-Iraq Non-proliferation Act, sponsored by then Sen. Gore, that required the imposition of sanctions against countries that made destabilizing arms sales to either Iran or Iraq.
Gore’s office was not available for comment.