Iran, Russia to boost military co-op – policy expert

Iran, Russia to boost military co-op – policy expert

Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.22

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

The military cooperation between Iran and Russia will grow, the Director of the Russian Public Policy Research Center Vladimir Yevseyev told Trend.

"Two states - Iran and Pakistan - fit for the role of Russia's serious partner in the Middle East," the expert said. "Iran is a difficult partner, however, the interests coincide with this state in many issues and this will allow to boost the cooperation, especially, taking into account that the sanctions against both countries will be in effect."

However, the UN Security Council resolutions, which envisage restrictions on the delivery of heavy weapons and those supported by Russia at one time, will partly inhibit this cooperation, according to the expert.

"Russia supported these resolutions and it is difficult to play back now," he said.

Yevseyev added that these resolutions will restrain the cooperation in the military technical field, however, they do not ban military cooperation.

He said the recent visit of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to Iran was not accidental.

In the military field, the call of ships in each others ports as a courtesy visit is quite possible, according to Yevseyev. In addition, a joint fight against sea pirates is possible. It is also possible to conduct joint exercises, work out joint actions in some emergency situations. The next step may be joint naval exercises.

Also, training of Iranian officers in Russian universities can be implemented quite easily, according to the expert. Joint land exercises and drills of the Air Forces are also possible in the future, he said.

Yevseyev said that Iran has a sufficiently large number of Soviet and Russian weapon systems. Here, in his words, joint exercises are also possible, especially if Russia supplies Iran with cruise missiles, etc.

"It is very important for the development of military cooperation that the issue with the supplies of C 300 Russian anti-aircraft missile systems was closed," said the expert. "I think this problem will be gradually solved. And then the issues about the supply of different kind of weapons, such as diesel submarines, may arise. Issues of supply of air defense systems and other ones may be discussed."

At the same time, he recalled that during the visit of Shoigu it was decided only to resume negotiations on the delivery of S-300.

"Now it will be the most difficult stage," he said. "The biggest problem (in the issue of delivery of S-300) is the price agreement. The last negotiations with Iran have shown that the coordination of cost on anti-aircraft missile systems can take several years."

Now such situation is not likely to happen again, according to Yevseyev. Nevertheless, it is possible that the Iranians will seriously bargain and try to put pressure on Russia by the fact that there are requirements to pay compensation for non-delivery of the systems in time, especially in view of the situation with the oil price.

"Iran will try to force us to sell the systems almost at prime cost," said the expert. "Russia can make a serious discount, given that it didn't supply the S-300 PMU 1 and taking into account the need to improve relations with Iran ... But I don't think that Russia will sell the systems at the price below prime cost."

"It is necessary to agree on the type of missile systems for supply," Yevseyev said. "Moreover, by supplying the complexes, Russia will supply the components for them. It will upgrade them. These issues must also be agreed. Moreover, the matter does not rest in a one-time delivery, perhaps, there will be other obligations."

"Much time may pass until the final approval," the expert said. "Some new requirements, perhaps even absurd ones, can be put forward. But we will have to discuss them."

The contract on S-300 supply to Iran was signed in late 2007. But in 2010 Russia refused to supply. The reason was that the UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran, prohibiting the transfer of the modern weapons to the country.

In response, Iran brought a suit against Rosoboronexport to the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva in the amount of $4 billion.

In September 2010, the then President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree on measures to implement the UN Security Council's resolution dated June 9, 2010. The decree envisaged the restrictions on the sale of arms and military equipment to Iran. The Iranian nuclear program was the reason for imposing the sanctions.

Edited by CN

Follow the author on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

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