Iran: Russia won't allow US to use Azeri radar

Iran threatened to escalate tensions between Washington and Moscow Sunday, saying Russia had assured it won't let the US use a radar station in Azerbaijan for missile defense against Teheran, despite a promise to America. The controversy illustrated the complicated relationship between the three countries at a time when Iran is under pressure for its disputed nuclear program. Driven by economic and political interests, Russia has been a fairly reliable ally to Iran, but Russia is also embroiled in a conflict with the US over Washington's attempts to install a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe to protect NATO allies against a missile launch by Iran. Unhappy at the prospect of missiles being deployed in his country's backyard, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise counteroffer earlier this month to let the US use a radar station in northeast Azerbaijan rented by Moscow as a basis for the defense.