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Russia suspends Iran arms sale following Israeli PM's visit to Moscow

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On Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned the international community against imposing sanctions following an earlier announcement that Iran would enrich uranium to 20 percent purity. During their meeting the same day, Mr. Putin assured Mr. Netanyahu that Russia did not want to spark an arms race in the Middle East, reports Haaretz.

During his two-hour meeting with Netanyahu, Putin stressed that Russia would refrain from selling any arms to Syria and Iran that would tilt the strategic balance in the region.

Netanyahu and Putin devoted most of their discussions on Russian plans to sell S-300 surface-to-air missiles, as well as the sale of Russian arms to Syria. The prime minister said he told Putin of the need to apply strict economic sanctions against Iran, along with preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Just in September, Russia was angrily denying allegations that one of its freighters had been secretly carrying S-300 antiaircraft missiles to Iran. The ship's official cargo was timber bound for Algeria, the Monitor reported at the time. The following month, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Moscow to pressure the Russians to find a joint approach to deal with Iran's alleged drive to obtain nuclear weapons.

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