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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Israel to Russia: You may yet regret giving Iran those S-300's

Iran's FarsNews is reporting that the Mullahcracy will take delivery of five Russian S-300 anti-missile systems in the 'first phase' of their agreement.
On Monday, Russia's Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that supplies of the Russian S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran may begin any moment in line with the relevant decree signed by the Russian president,
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday to lift the ban on the delivery of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran.
"The decree stipulates… no delays," Peskov told journalists adding that the second provision of the decree states that "it comes into force on the day it was signed."
In January, Tehran and Moscow signed an agreement to broaden their defensive cooperation and also resolve the problem with the delivery of Russia's S300 missile defense systems to Iran.
The agreement was signed by General Dehqan and his visiting Russian counterpart General Sergei Shoigu in a meeting in Tehran in January.
The Iranian and Russian defense ministers agreed to resolve the existing problems which have prevented the delivery of Russia's advanced air defense systems to Iran in recent years.
The two sides also agreed to broaden their defense cooperation and joint campaign against terrorism and extremism.
In 2007, Iran signed a contract worth $800mln to buy five Russian S300 missile defense systems.
But the deal was scrapped in 2010 by the then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who was unilaterally expanding on sanctions against Iran imposed by the UN Security Council.
Iran filed a $4bln lawsuit against Russia in the international arbitration court in Geneva, which is currently pending review.
But Amir Rappaport reports that Israel is not taking this lying down. Israeli defense officials have told him that Israel may sell advanced weapons systems to Georgia and Ukraine in response to the Russian move.
To understand the relationship between the transactions between Israel, Ukraine and Georgia and the recent Russian move, we should go back to the background of things: Russia was planning to sell Iran the advanced S300 missiles defense system at the end of the last decade. 
The weapon system is considered to have strategic capabilities. Although the Russians have not offered the Iranians the most advanced version of the system they possess, it is still an anti-aircraft system that can hit aircraft even at ranges of 150 km – a huge challenge for every Air Force, including the Israeli Air Force.
The deal between Russia and Iran was canceled in 2010, under the pressure of Israel and against the background of global sanctions imposed on the Iranian regime. In a silent understanding, Israel has refrained from selling advanced weapons systems to Ukraine and Georgia, that are both considered enemies of Russia. Regarding Georgia, the supply of Israeli arms was completely stopped after their war with the Russians at the end of the last decade (and after Israeli weapons brought down several Russian helicopters). Regarding Ukraine, several transactions were on the agenda recently, including the sale of advanced unmanned aircraft amounting tens of thousands of dollars. These transactions were frozen based on a demand of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in view of the "delicate" relationship between Israel and Russia. Now, it is quite possible that the approval for exporting Israel arms to Ukraine will be granted.
Rappaport also reports that the S-300 systems being sold to Iran are not the most advanced of such systems (but would still complicate an Israeli attack against Iran's nuclear facilities), and that contrary to other reports, delivery will take at least three years. 

Still, I would view any prospect of delivery of the S-300 to Iran as reason for the advancement of an Israeli attack against Iran's nuclear facilities.

What could go wrong?

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