Russia Lifts Ban On Weapons Delivery To Iran
Russia Lifts Ban On Weapons Sales To Iran
Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing the P5+1 nuclear framework agreement, lifteda five-year ban on delivering S-300 missiles to Iran.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted that “a modern air defense system is now very relevant to Iran, especially taking into account the severe escalation of tensions in neighboring areas,” according to The Los Angeles Times.
He also told the Russia Today television network that the “S-300 is exclusively a defensive weapon, which can’t serve offensive purposes and will not jeopardize the security of any country, including, of course, Israel.”
Dave Majundar of The Daily Beast says that Putin’s move, which was prompted by the economic impact of sanctions, “would effectively force the U.S. to rely on its small fleet of stealth aircraft to strike targets inside Iran in case the mullahs make a dash for the bomb.”
Foreign Policy magazine echoed that view, asserting that the missiles being delivered to Iran “are highly advanced weapons, and Western military planners believe their sale to Iran would significantly bolster the country’s defenses against a strike on its nuclear facilities.”
The message Russia is sending to Iran is that the sanctions which have been imposed on Iran are, for the most part, coming to an end, he adds.
An editorial in The Wall Street Journal noted that the State Department dismissed notions Russia was preparing to open the door to arms to Iran and, more importantly, the administration is moving to grant the United Nations authority for enforcing the recent Iran agreement.
“Now Mr. Obama wants to delegate responsibility for enforcing his nuclear deal with Iran to the United Nations, which means that the Russians will have a say—and a veto—there, too. Think of this missile sale as a taste of what’s to come,” the Journal contends.
In fact, Reva Bhalla writes in Stratfor’s Geopolitical Weekly last week that Russia’s goal all along has been to maintain a divide between Americans and Iranians.
“Offers to sell Iran advanced air defense systems were designed to poke holes in U.S. threats to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. Teams of Russian nuclear experts whetted Iran’s appetite for civilian nuclear power with offers to build additional power reactors. Russian banks did their part to help Iran circumvent financial sanctions. The Russian plan all along was not to help Iran get the bomb but to use its leverage with a thorny player in the Middle East to get the United States into a negotiation on issues vital to Russia’s national security interests.
” So if Washington wanted to resolve its Iran problem, it would have to pull back on issues like ballistic missile defense in Central Europe, which Moscow saw early on as the first of several U.S. steps to encircle Russia,” she predicted.