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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Iran Denies Cruise Missile Purchase from Ukraine


Iran on July 2 denied purchasing cruise missiles from Ukraine after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said a Ukrainian firm had delivered half a dozen to the Islamic republic.

”I am surprised by the comments made by Mr. Ivanov. No, we did not have any purchase of illegal weapons, and we did not purchase such missiles,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.
Asefi added: “Even the Ukranians have denied it.”

On June 30 Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said a Ukrainian firm had delivered “six X-55 cruise missiles to China and another six to Iran in 2000 and 2001.”

”This is a most flagrant violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) of which Ukraine is a member,” Ivanov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Ukraine denounced the comments as an attempt “to create an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust in Ukraine, especially on the eve of a G8 meeting in Russia.”

The Group of Eight, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States, are to hold a summit in Saint Petersburg July 15-17.

The X-55 is an air-to-surface cruise missile designed for strategic bombers that can be outfitted with a nuclear warhead and can have a range of up to 2,500 kilometers.

However, the 12 missiles in question did not leave Ukrainian territory with warheads, a Ukrainian investigation found.

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