Defying the objections of the United States, Russia has announced plans to sell military hardware to Iran and Venezuela. In the latest escalation of the diplomatic standoff between Russia and the West, the state arms exporter will sell anti-aircraft systems to the two countries, the Times of London reports. "Contacts between our countries are continuing and we do not see any reason to suspend them," said the director of the arms company.
The S300 surface-to-air missile system will provide Iran greater protection against an American or Israeli bombardment. Condoleezza Rice reacted strongly to the moves, saying it jeopardized Russia's accession to the WTO and other international bodies. "Russia’s international standing is worse now than at any time since 1991," said the secretary of state.