Experts: Russian-Israeli military cooperation not directed against Iran

Azerbaijan, Baku, September 8 /Trend, E.Ostapenko/

The Russian-Israeli agreement on military cooperation is not directed against Iran and would not entail a sharp negative reaction by it, while this co-operation does not affect the fundamental areas for Iran, experts say.

"As long as Russia's cooperation with Israel would not affect the critical areas for Iran, we should not expect more reaction from Tehran," Senior fellow at the Center for International Security at the Institute for World Economy and International Relations of Russian Academy of Sciences,Vladimir Yevseyev, told Trend by telephone.

For the first time in the history of Russia and Israel, a military cooperation agreement was signed Monday in Moscow by defense ministers Anatoly Serdyukov and Ehud Barak. This document is a framework and serves the preparation and signing of contracts in the sphere of military-technical cooperation.

The document will be valid for five years, after which it is planned to be extended.

This agreement has not anti-Iranian nature, Yevseyev believes. On the contrary, the deterioration of relations between Russia and Iran has created a good background for the development of relations with Israel.  

He said for Russia, it is important to develop military-technical cooperation with Israel because Russia does not possess advanced technologies in selected spheres. For example, Russia and Israel could cooperate in the development of aircraft, since Israel supplies avionics for the aircraft, and Russia makes well gliders, said Yevseyev, a member of the International Expert Council at Trend Agency.

"Those areas in which Russia tries to cooperate with Israel are not linked with Iran, said Yevseyev. Disturbances in Iran are so many, and the cup of patience will apparently not overflow."
According to him, the critical significance for Iran is developing missile defense systems. But in this regard, Israel does not cooperate with Russia, but the United States.

Also, for Russia it would be very important to produce unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in cooperation with Israel, said Yevseyev. Iran itself develops them, and promoting cooperation in this field does not threaten it, because Israel is far ahead of Russia in the field of UAVs. Therefore, Russia can not provide Israel any new technology, which would be used against Iran.

Last spring, Russia acquired from Israel 12 unmanned aerial vehicles, and now 50 servicemen are trained of their use, the Russian defense minister said earlier.
Moscow is interested in the Israeli experience in training special forces soldiers to combat terrorism, achievements of military medicine and justice. Moreover, Russia hopes to actively develop military-technical cooperation with Israel.
It is unprofitable for Russia to act against Iran in the current tense political situation related to Iran's nuclear program, said Zvi Magen, fellow on Russia and Middle East Policy of Institute for National Security Studies of Israel.

"I do not think that Russia is now in a condition to act against Iran. It is not in Russia's interest to act against Iran in such important areas as military and technical cooperation, Magen told Trend in a telephone conversation. Of course, Russia has joined in the sanctions regime against Iran, but it is not in any way connected with the cooperation with Israel."

Recently signed agreement between Russia and Israel preceded the period of tension between the two countries in connection with Russia's promise to supply missile defense system to Iran. Later, because of objections by Israel, the deal was not realized.

The decision whether to supply Iran S-300 missile system has not been made, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said in August.

Providing S-300 missiles is one of the most sensitive issues of Russian-Iranian relations. Already in 2007, Russia signed a contract to supply Iran these effective defensive weapons, but the agreement has not been implemented. Iranian officials have repeatedly accused the Russian side of violating the commitments.

The final barrier to the implementation of the contract has become the latest UN Security Council resolution on Iran's nuclear program, which prohibits Tehran to buy heavy weapons.

The national priority of Russia exceeds its interest in a rapprochement with Iran, says a British analyst of Iranian origin Reza Taghizadeh. Russia seeks to modernize its army, and Israel can be a useful partner in this regard.

He said Russia would acquire small aircrafts, small arms from Israel. In return, Israel may become a military partner of Russia in the development and modernization of the armed forces.

"However, the consequences of this rapprochement, of course, will be Iran's estrangement," he told Trend.

U.Sadikhova contributed to the article.

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