Friday, November 24, 2006

Russian Arming Iran Now--erm, Again? Still?

With a H/T to LGF, I have to be confused, disheartened and yes, a little appalled that it's come to this.
MOSCOW -- Russia has begun delivery of Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran, a Defense Ministry official said Friday, confirming that Moscow would proceed with arms deals with Tehran in spite of Western criticism.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue, declined to specify when the deliveries had been made and how many systems had been delivered.
The United States called on all countries last spring to stop all arms exports to Iran, as well as ending all nuclear cooperation with it to put pressure on Tehran to halt uranium enrichment activities. Israel, too, has severely criticized arms deals with Iran.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the United States and its allies suspect Iran is trying to develop weapons.

The U.N. Security Council, where Russia is a veto-wielding permanent member, is currently stalemated on the severity of sanctions on Iran for defying its demand to cease enrichment.

The Tor-M1 deal, involving conventional weapons, does not violate any international agreements.
I guess what I have to ask is why does this deal not violate any international agreements? Arming Iran is okay so long as the warheads aren't nukes? Hmmm, something seems "off" about this rationale. Is Putin that hard up for some quick cash?

Maybe. Or maybe it's just the oil--again. Still. According to Jane's Intelligence Digest (waaay back in 2000--yeah, years ago this started) "Moscow defence analysts [said] of the $5 billion worth of orders Russia's military-industrial complex fulfiled for Iran, just $1 billion was settled in cash. Iran had to settle its bills through a series of much less attractive deals which included Soviet-era debt write-offs and oil barter contracts."

And oh, here it is again, over at Arms Control Assn back in March of 2001, including a sampling (list) of what arms Russia has already provided--besides the current, new shipment of Tor-M1's:
Russia has become in the past decade Iran’s main source of advanced conventional arms, an ‘alleged’ supplier of know-how and technology for its ballistic missiles and chemical and biological warfare programmes. Russia is also the sole source of Iran’s civilian nuclear technology.


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