Supplying S-300 system to Iran would restore Russia’s “reliable ally” image

Supplying S-300 system to Iran would restore Russia’s “reliable ally” image

Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 18

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

After long-run disputes over delivering S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran finally Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a decree on April 13 to lift the ban over delivering the system.

The decree issued short time after Iran and the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) reached a framework agreement on Tehran's nuclear program on April 2.

In the middle of all this, the borders between the two opposing blocs-headed by Tehran and Riyadh- in the Middle East are much clearer now and the Islamic Republic expects more significant supportive steps from its traditional ally-Russia.

Russia signed the contract in 2007 to sell Iran five S-300 ground-to-air missile systems. The $800-million contract to deliver S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran was cancelled in 2010 by then Russian then President Dmitry Medvedev, falling in line with the UN sanctions imposed on Iran due to its disputed nuclear program.

Lifting the ban over delivering the S-300 system to Iran has a clear message from Moscow to its allies that Russia is a stable partner for its friends, Claude Moniquet, CEO of the ESISC (European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center) believes.

Russia made clear that it was in favor of a nuclear agreement. But it made clear also that this agreement (with an inspection process, etc.) would be the only thing it will agree with and that it will never accept any other limitation of power for Tehran, Moniquet told Trend April 18.

In the other way Russia sent the message that will continue to support and defend Tehran-its long time partner- now that the country has accepted the nuclear agreement, the expert added.

While responding a question about the effect of receiving the system in power balance in the region, Moniquet said that it will considerably increase the military power of Tehran, as the S- 300 system is an extremely good one.

It could offer Iran a clear capacity to protect its infrastructures, including the nuclear ones, he underlined.

The expert further said that receiving the missiles will help Iran to show itself as a regional power.

"Iranians are today involved in several proxy confrontations with the Sunni powers of the area, and especially Saudi Arabia. The Nuclear agreement signed on April 2, if it is really installed, could be seen as a weakness signal. So I think that Tehran had the "necessity" to show that it is still a regional power and even that it wants increase its strength," he explained.

Moniquet also believes that the Tehran-Moscow military deal can not be considered as a new militarization approach in the region.

"The situation in the whole region (Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, etc.) is already very tense and military forces took the advantage on politic forces a long time ago. This decision, in my view, will not really change this situation," he explained.

He also stressed that the deal would not affect ongoing Iran-P5+1 nuclear talks.

"The nuclear agreement is very fragile and is not perfect, but we need it," Moniquet said, adding "It is important to lower the tensions, I think and I hope that Tehran has not the idea to use this new step to protect its nuclear program and that the P5 + 1 will agree that, in a very tense and volatile environment, Tehran has the right to protect itself."

It should be noted that Iran and the P5+1 have decided to strike a comprehensive deal by July 1. The deal provisions the removal of all international sanctions on Iran and in return narrowing the range of the country's nuclear activities.

The US and its Western allies suspect Iran of developing a nuclear weapon, something that Iran denies.

Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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