Russia in a Hurry to Sell Weapons to Iran — Paper
Mos News | September 26 2005
Russia is intensifying efforts to sell weapons to Iran while such sales remain legal amid mounting pressure on the Islamic state over its controversial nuclear program, the daily Kommersant said on Monday.
Moscow “has stepped up military-technological cooperation with Tehran,” the business daily said, citing an unidentified source.
It said top officials within Russia’s military-industrial complex decided to concentrate on arms sales to Tehran for two reasons.
“Firstly, as many weapons as possible must be sold to Iran before an international embargo against this country comes into force.”
Secondly, should the United States decide to go to war in Iran, Russia wants Iran to be well-armed to ensure that U.S. forces become at least as bogged down there as they already are in Iraq, the daily said.
“In either case, such a policy carries a high risk of creating a major international scandal, at the very least,” the newspaper commented.
The report came two days after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) formally found Iran in violation of its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a decision the United States hailed as a “significant step forward” in its efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear plans, AFP added.
“The United States no longer even hides the fact that, in parallel with diplomacy at the IAEA, it is making preparations to resolve the conflict by force,” Kommersant said.
The U.S. ambassador to the ex-Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, which borders Iran, told AFP in a recent interview that Washington is encouraging — and helping fund — a build-up in the capacities of naval forces for Azerbaijan and another former Soviet republic, Kazakhstan.
Both border the oil-rich Caspian Sea, as does Iran. In its assertion that Washington is already making preparations for military action in the region, Kommersant cited the U.S.-funded construction of two radar stations in Azerbaijan